What does Eurymachus do to to Odysseus in Book 18 of The Odyssey?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By Book 18 of the Odyssey, Odysseus has returned to Ithaca, but he has not yet made his return public. Instead, he has disguised himself as a beggar so his wife's suitors will not know his true identity. While so disguised, Eurymachus--one of the suitors--dishonors Odysseus. First, Eurymachus taunts him by making fun of his appearance and supposed character. For example, Eurymachus says (Lattimore translation, lines 353-355):

"This man comes as a gift of the gods to the house of Odysseus.
  It is my thought that he can give us illumination
  from his bald head, which has no hair, not even a little."

Odysseus responds by warning Eurymachus that Odysseus could return to Ithaca at any time and would put the disrespectful suitor to flight. This angers Eurymachus, who picks up a stool and throws it at Odysseus. Odysseus ducks and avoid the blow, but a stool hits a cupbearer and causes him to drop his pitcher.