What plan do Athena and Telemachus devise to overcome the suitors in the Odyssey?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Athena advised Telemachus to first make his case before the assembly of Achaean heroes and ask the suitors to leave. The goddess also stated that if Penelope, Telemachus’s mother was bent on getting married again, he should send her back to her father’s place. Athena further asked Telemachus to pay a visit to some of his father’s colleagues, so he may obtain information that would help in determining Odysseus’s whereabouts.

The goddess asked him to take with him 20 men aboard a ship. He was to first visit Nestor in Pylos and later Menelaus in Sparta. The information he would receive from these two men would help him establish if his father is dead or alive. Athena suggested that if he learned his father was still alive, he should go back home and persevere another 12 months with the suitors, because his father would be back to fight them off. However, in case he learned of his father’s death, he should head back home, perform the funeral rites for his father and arrange for his mother to be married again. After the ceremony and the rites have been performed, the goddess instructed him to kill all the suitors.

if you hear that your father is alive and on his way home, you can put up with the waste these suitors will make for yet another twelve months. If on the other hand you hear of his death, come home at once, celebrate his funeral rites with all due pomp, build a barrow to his memory, and make your mother marry again. Then, having done all this, think it well over in your mind how, by fair means or foul, you may kill these suitors in your own house.