Odysseus' fight with Irus, who also known as Arnaios, is meant, first, to exhibit Odysseus's fairness to an obnoxious challenger. Second, it is mean to show that the suitors have no regard for the concept of xenia—hospitality to strangers—no matter what their station in life may be. Third, it serves to throw off the suitors for Penelope who are watching this "beggar" defend himself.
When Odysseus is challenged by Irus, Irus says,
All these men [the suitors] are winking at me . . . to haul you out of this house. . . . (18:12–14)
Odysseus, who is intent on maintaining his disguise as an old beggar so that he can eventually turn his strength on the suitors for Penelope, responds with reason and humility:
What's wrong with you? I have done nothing to harm or insult you, nor do I begrudge you the food that you get from these gentlemen here. (18:17–19)
Odysseus, like Irus, is a beggar among the suitors, and he has no wish to be considered as anything other than a beggar, so he wisely points...
(The entire section contains 4 answers and 927 words.)