In Book 14 of The Odyssey, why does Odysseus test Eumaeus' loyalty?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the biggest reason for Odysseus wanting to test the loyalty of Eumaeus is that he has been away from Ithaca for so long, and he knows that there is a hostile force of the suitors in his palace trying to woo Penelope and take his wife and kingdom away from him. This must have made him incredibly unsure about his position. Although Athena has told him to go to Eumaeus, the wily Odysseus is never going to trust somebody straight off without testing their loyalty and checking that their character has not changed and they are still completely devoted to him. This is what we see in Book 14: Odysseus devises a number of tests to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eumaeus, the faithful swinherd, is still loyal to his master.

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The Odyssey

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