The Odyssey Questions and Answers
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After 20 years Odysseus finally returns home to Ithaca, whom does he visit in The Odyssey? The question is from The Odyssey and asks about Odysseus (Books 16-19).

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Renata Kelly eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a list of the important people Odysseus meets upon his return to Ithaka and the books of the Odyssey in which those meetings are described.

Book 14: Eumaios the swineherd is the first mortal Odysseus meets when he returns to Ithaka. Upon meeting Odysseus, who is disguised as a beggar, Eumaios invites him back to his humble hut, gives him food and wine, and tells him a bit about the situation going on at Odysseus's palace, where the suitors are eating up all his supplies. Eumaios does not recognize Odysseus and says that he believes Odysseus died long ago, "far from home." Odysseus assures him that his "lord is near at hand," but Eumaios dismisses this as nonsense.

Book 16: Telemakhos is the next person Odysseus meets. Telemakhos comes to Eumaios’s hut after his return from Sparta, and there finds the forester in conversation with a stranger (Odysseus in disguise). He asks Eumaios to tell Penelope of his return to Ithaka, and when Eumaios leaves, Odysseus shakes off his disguise and reveals himself to Telemakhos. Telemakhos at first cannot believe that this man is Odysseus and fears it is some trick of “meddling spirits”, but Odysseus assures him that he is indeed Telemakhos’s father. The two embrace and weep. When they have regained their composure, they discuss how best to deal with the suitors.

Book 17: Melanthios the goatherd is the third person Odysseus meets. He and Eumaios are heading into town to Odysseus’s palace, where Odysseus, once again disguised as a beggar, plans to assess the situation before revealing himself to the suitors and Penelope. On their way to the city, they come across Melanthios, a goatherd who works for the suitors. Melanthios taunts them both as “stinking beggars”, and says that Odysseus “died at sea” so it’s no use hoping for his return. Melanthios is not important in and of himself, but he serves as a proxy for the suitors before Odysseus meets them. He is rude, selfish, and confident that Odysseus will never return.

Argos, Odysseus’s old hound, is the fourth person Odysseus meets. This dog has waited faithfully for his master to return since Odysseus set out for Troy twenty years ago. He sees right through Odysseus’s beggar disguise and knows him for his master. He wags his tail in happiness, and dies happily, having seen his master return.

Entering the palace, Odysseus meets the suitors, who treat him unkindly, insulting him and only very reluctantly performing the sacred duties of hospitality by offering him food and drink.

Book 18: Penelope appears in the hall where Odysseus and the suitors are eating, and Odysseus sets eyes on her at last. She wants to speak to the “beggar,” hoping he may have news of her long-lost husband and not knowing he is in fact her husband himself.

Book 19: Penelope sits and speaks with Odysseus at length, and he spins her a tale of how he “knew” Odysseus, describing him in great detail, and promising her that Odysseus is still alive and will be home soon. Penelope offers him a bed to sleep in, and sends the old nursemaid, Eurykleia, to wash the “beggar’s” feet. Eurykleia nursed Odysseus as a baby and has known him since he was born. When she washes the “beggar’s” feet, she recognises a scar on one foot and realizes that this beggar is in fact Odysseus. She cries out, but Odysseus puts his hand over her mouth to silence her and orders Eurykleia not to give away his presence to Penelope.

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James Kelley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I'm pretty sure that the name you are looking for is Eumaeus.

The Wikipedia entry on this character is pretty good. You may want to check it out. The entry includes, for example, the statements:

In Homer's "Odyssey", Eumaeus is the first mortal that Odysseus meets after his return to Ithaca. ...

Eumaeus also welcomes Odysseus's son, Telemachus, when he returns from his voyage to Pylos and Sparta. During the slaughter of the suitors, Eumaeus assists Telemachus and Odysseus as well.

During Odysseus's absence, Eumaeus acted as father to Telemachus. ...

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jackie-boo | Student

it wat the Phaeacians that helped send him home on there "magically swift ships"