Odyssey Book 21

Who inspired Penelope to set up the contest? Athene
Who had the bow belonged to? Iphitus
Why had Iphitus given Odysseus the bow? (2) 1 They had met in Messene at the house of Ortilochus at a dinner.2 They were both guests but had exchanged gifts with one another. Iphitus gave the bow and Odysseus gave a sharp sword and a strong spear.
What was Iphitus doing in Messene? (2) Looking for a dozen mares (lady horses) and some mules
What happened to Iphitus later? (3) 1 He was killed by Heracles 2 who stole his mares 3 in Heracles’ house
What was Odysseus doing in Messene? (2) He had come to collect a public debt for 300 sheep and their shepherds stolen from Ithaca by some Messenians
Where is the bow kept? In a storeroom
What does Penelope need to open the store room? (3) A key 2 with an ivory handle which she picks up with a ‘strong hand’.
What noise does the door of the store room make? That of a bull
What does Penelope do when she takes the bow? (2) she puts it on her lap and then weeps torrents (about her husband)
How does Penelope address the Suitors? (2) She wears a veil to mask her emotion on and by a massive pillar flanked by a faithful maid on each side – projecting strength and resolve.
What do Eumaeus and Philoetius do on seeing the bow? Weep
What does Antinous call Eumaeus and Philoetius when they weep for Odysseus? ‘You snivelling peasants!’
What does Antinous call the bow? ‘the bow that will seal our fate.’
Who digs the trench for the 12 axes? Telemachus
What does the digging of the trench earn Telemachus? Admiration for the neat and accurate way he had dug the trench for the axe heads
How many times does Telemachus fail to string the bow? Three times
Why does Telemachus not string the bow the fourth time? Odysseus stops him with a shake of the head
Who tries to string the bow first? Leodes
Who dies last? Leodes
Who is Leodes? (2) A priest who disapproves of the Suitors. He is interested in the love of Penelope not wealth or power than comes with Odysseus’ estate.
Why can Leodes not string the bow? He has delicate hands (and lacks strength)
How does Antinous criticise Leodes? He resents the idea that just because Leodes cannot string the bow, no-one else will. ‘I strongly resent that this bow will break the heart and spirit of many a champion here…in this noble company’ (dramatic irony)
What does Antinous order to happen next? (2) 1 Tallow should be heated up so the bow should be greased.2. The bow should be left to the fire to warm (which should make it more flexible).
Who carries out Antinous’ order? Melanthius, the goatherd
Who does Odysseus meet outside the hall? (2) 1 Eumaeus (pig man) 2 Philoetius (cow man)
What is the two men’s reponse to Odysseus’ question? They pray for his return (revealing their loyalty).
What question does Odysseus ask his two servants? Whether they would fight for Odysseus if he returned
What does Odysseus promise the two men? (3) 1 a wife each2 possessions 3 build them a house near his palace4 regard them as Telemachus’ friends and brothers
How does Odysseus confirm his identity? He shows them his scar
What three orders does Odysseus give them? 1 Eumaeus should give Odysseus the bow 2 They should keep the women away 3 Philoetius should lock the courtyard gate
Who is the second most important suitor? Eurymachus
What does Eurymachus worry about when he can’t string the bow? What people will think about him
What does Antinous suggest? (2) To make a libation to Apollo (archer god) since it is his holiday and sacrifice some goats tomorrow
What happens when Odysseus asks to have a go at the bow? The Suitors are angry. They fear he might string it and show them up. They tell him to be content to dine with his betters.
What does Antinous suggest about Odysseus? That he has been drinking and he is getting above his station.
What story does Antinous tell about the danger of drink? (3) The centaur Eurytion got drunk at the wedding of Hippodameia and tried to rape her
What happened to Eurytion? His ears and nose were cut off for raping the bride
Who does Antinous threaten to send Odysseus to? King Echetus the Destroyer
Who intervenes to protect Odysseus? Penelope; she criticises Antinous for not showing common decency to Telemachus’ guest. Does he really think that the beggar would want to bend the bow and carry her home with him as his wife?
What does Eurymachus worry about? What people will think if Odysseus strings the bow. His image and reputation would suffer to be shown up like that.
What does Penelope tell Eurymachus? (2) No one will think highly of him since he destroys a great man’s household
What does Penelope promise Odysseus if he strings the bow? (5) 1 A cloak 2 tunic 3 javelin 4 sandals 5 a sword
What does Telemachus do now? (2) 1 He asserts his authority 2 and sends Pen to her room
Who gives Eumaeus the courage to bring the bow to Od? Telemachus
What does Telemachus tell Eurycleia to do? 1 Lock the door of the women’s quarters 2 ignore cries from the men’s quarters
What does Odysseus do with the bow? Twists it in his hands
Why does Odysseus twist the bow? To check for worms and the integrity of the horn which might make the bow unusable.
What is the response of the Suitors? They laugh at Odysseus
What simile describes how easily Odysseus manages to string the bow? Like a bard stringing a lyre
What does the string sound like when Odysseus plucks it? Like a swallow
What is special about a swallow? birds which return to their former nest
What happens when Odysseus strings the bow? There is a thunderclap from Zeus showing approval for the vengeance/justice that is about to happen next

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