What happens to Odysseus at the end of the story?

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Odysseus, with the help of Athena, Telemachus, and a couple of herdsmen, manages to kill all of the suitors. Then he must prove to Penelope that he really is her husband who has finally come home. She tests him by telling the maid to move a bed into the hall for him, but he points out that the bed cannot be moved because one of the posts is made of a live olive tree, a secret only the two of them and a maid know. The couple then is reunited before Odysseus goes off to see his father Laertes again. He must also prove his identity to this old man, and he does so by recalling the fruit trees and vines his father had given him when Odysseus was a child. Next he, Laertes, and some servants must fight the families of the slain suitors who are seeking revenge. The battle is stopped by Athena, who pleads with Zeus to erase the memories of the dead suitors from the minds of their families so that peace can return to Ithaca. Odysseus has told Penelope what was foretold for him by Tiresias, the blind prophet: he must travel with an oar so far inland that no one will recognize this piece of equipment (some will think it was a winnowing tool), plant the oar in the ground, and make sacrifices to Poseidon to settle his feud with the god. Eventually Odysseus will die a peaceful, seaborne death.