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Athena uses a wand to transform Odysseus into an old beggar. What she doesn't transform, however, is a large scar on his leg that was the result of a hunting accident when he was a boy. The fact that Odysseus is disguised allows him to move around Ithaca (and his own palace) without being recognized. His scar, on the other hand, is a device by which he is recognized and identified more than once. Also, Odysseus is transformed back into his "normal" self more than once in the last half of the poem. It is fun to try to keep track of the transformations and try to figure out where it all ends up. Finally, this is all a part of a larger disguise motif in the poem. Another example that comes to find is when Odysseus engineers the escape of his men from the Cyclops' cave by hiding them under some sheep.
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