When Odysseus returns to his palace on the island of Ithaca, he's disguised as a beggar. He doesn't want to reveal his identity to the suitors just yet; he wants to gain some idea of their strength before he springs into action. This is all part of the plan he devised with his son Telemachus. Once at the palace, Odysseus will wait until the time is right before giving Telemachus a signal. At that signal, Telemachus is to gather up all the available weapons and put them in a storeroom, but leaving enough weapons for himself and his father. When Odysseus reveals his identity by shooting an arrow through twelve ax heads, then it's time for the plan to be put into effect, and he and Telemachus set about brutally slaughtering Penelope's suitors.