In Homer's The Odyssey, how does Telemachus respond to Antinous' reply in the assembly?
In Homer's The Odyssey, Antinous is one of the suitors who has descended upon Odysseus' wife, Penelope, vying for her hand in marriage—and all that Odysseus owned—because Odysseus has been gone for twenty years and is presumed dead.
Telemachus should be the heir to his father's home and fortune. However, because they are not certain that Odysseus is dead, Telemachus is ignored by the suitors who spend every day at the home of Odysseus and Penelope, wooing her to marry one of them, eating every animal they can slaughter and drinking all of the wine.
Telemachus convenes the assembly, which has not been called together since Odysseus lived among them. Telemachus makes his grievances clearly known. The suitors have been at Odysseus' home for several years. They eat and drink as they please, but bring nothing to offer in exchange for Penelope's hospitality. They show no respect toward Penelope or her son. They have not approached Penelope's father so that he might arrange another marriage for her, as is the appropriate custom. And Telemachus fears that the suitors will leech everything of value from the estate and it will be bankrupt and ruined. Telemachus is not yet the man his father was and cannot drive the suitors away. So he has come to appeal to the members of the assembly.
Antinous, one of the suitors, is the only one to respond to Telemachus and he does so angrily:
Telemachus, insolent braggart that you are, how dare you try to throw the blame upon us suitors? It is your mother's fault not ours, for she is a very artful woman.
Antinous recalls that for almost four years, Penelope has played tricks to keep the suitors at bay. One of the more well known examples of her cleverness was asking to have the time to weave a shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes. However, with all the progress she makes each day, at night she picks out all the work she completed, and continues the practice day after day until her ploy is discovered.
Antinous shows no remorse for his actions (and those of the other suitors) and demonstrates no respect for Telemachus. Instead, he blames the entire situation in Odysseus' home on Penelope and her tricks.