In Ithaca, in the absence of Odysseus, the suitors are rampaging, plundering his property

When the gods decided to return Odyssey to her homeland, the warrior goddess Athena immediately descended from high Olympus to earth in Ithaca and, assuming the image of the king of the Tafis Menta, went to Odysseus' house. In the house she found violent suitors wooing for Penelope, the wife of Odysseus.

Telemachus and Penelope
Telemachus and Penelope.
(Drawing on a vase.)
The grooms sat in the banquet hall and played dice while waiting for the feast, which was prepared by slaves and servants. The first to see Athena was the son of Odysseus, Telemachus. Telemachus greeted the imaginary Cop affably. He took him into the house and sat him down at a separate table away from the table at which the grooms were sitting. The feast began. When the grooms were sated, they called the singer Femiya to entertain them with his singing. During the singing of Femia, Telemachus leaned over to the Cop and began to complain, but so that the grooms would not hear, about the troubles that he suffers from the grooms. Telemachus grieved that his father Odysseus had not returned for so long; if his father had returned, all his troubles would have ended, as Telemachus believed. Telemachus also asked the guest who he was and what his name was, Pallas Athena, calling herself a Cop, said that she knew Odysseus, whom his son Telemachus looked so much like, and, as if not knowing what was going on in Odysseus' house, asked Telemachus if he was celebrating a wedding, if he was celebrating any a holiday? Why are his guests so outraged? And Telemachus told his grief to the guest, He told him how his mother Penelope was forced by violent suitors to choose one of them for her husband, how they were outraging, how they were plundering his property. Athena listened to Telemachus and advised him to seek protection from the people of Ithaca, calling him to a meeting and complaining in the assembly about the suitors. Athena also advised Telemachus to go to Pylos to the elder Nestor and to Sparta to the king Menelaus and learn from them about the fate of Odysseus. Having given such advice to Telemachus, Athena left him. She turned into a bird and disappeared from the eyes of Telemachus. Then he realized that he had just been talking to God.

At this time, Penelope came down from her rest to the banquet hall. She heard the singing of Themius, who sang a song about the return of heroes from under Troy. Penelope began to ask Femia to stop the sad song and sing another one. But Telemachus interrupted her. He said that it was not the singer who was to blame for the choice of the song, but the god Zeus, who inspired him to sing this particular song. Telemachus asked his mother to return to her rest and there to do things that were decent to her as a woman and mistress: yarn, weaving, supervising the work of slaves and keeping order in the house. He asked his mother not to interfere in matters that did not suit her, and said that he was the only ruler in the house of his father Odysseus. Penelope listened to her son. She obediently went to her rest and, shutting herself in it, remembering Odysseus, wept bitterly; finally, the goddess Athena plunged her into a sweet sleep.

The grooms, when Penelope left, argued for a long time which of them should become her husband. They were soon interrupted by Telemachus. He said that he would ask the People's Assembly for help, so that it would forbid them to ruin his house. Telemachus threatened them with the wrath of the gods. But his threats had little effect on the suitors, they still continued to make noise, sing and dance, rampaging until nightfall. Only late at night the grooms dispersed.

Telemachus also went to his bedchamber, accompanied by Odysseus' faithful servant, the elderly Eurycleia, who nursed him as a child. There Telemachus lay down on his bed. All night he could not close his eyes - he was thinking over the advice given by Pallas Athena.

The next day, early in the morning, Telemachus ordered the heralds to assemble a people's assembly. People gathered quickly. Telemachus also came to the people's assembly, he had a spear in his hands, two dogs were running after him. He was so beautiful that everyone gathered marveled at him. The elders of Ithaca made way for him, and he sat down in his father's place. Telemachus appealed to the people to protect him from the outrages of suitors robbing his house. He conjured the people in the name of Zeus and the goddess of justice Themis to help him.

After finishing his angry speech, Telemachus sat down in his seat, lowered his head, and tears poured from his eyes. The entire national assembly fell silent, but one of the grooms, Antinous, boldly began to answer Telemachus. He reproached Penelope for the trick she resorted to just to avoid marriage with one of the suitors. After all, she had told them that she would choose a husband from them only when she finished weaving a rich veil. Penelope really wove the veil during the day, but at night she dissolved what she managed to weave in a day. Antinous threatened that the suitors would not leave the house of Odysseus until Penelope chose a husband from them. Antinous even demanded that Telemachus send his mother to her father. By this he wanted to force her to choose her husband. Telemachus refused to expel his mother from the house; he called Zeus to witness the insults and evil that he suffers from the suitors. Zeus the Thunderer heard him and sent a sign. Two soaring eagles rose above the people's assembly, the eagles flew to the middle of the people's assembly and rushed at each other; they tore their chests and necks in blood and quickly disappeared from the eyes of the surprised people. The bird-fancier Galifers announced to all those gathered that this sign foreshadowed the imminent return of Odysseus, and then woe to the suitors. Unrecognized by anyone, Odysseus will return and severely punish those who rob his house. That's what Galifers told the audience. One of the grooms began to mock loudly, Eurymachus, above the bird-reader. He threatened that they would kill Odysseus himself. Eurymachus proudly declared that the suitors were not afraid of anything: neither Telemachus, nor the prophetic birds with which the bird-giver scares them. Telemachus did not try to convince the suitors to stop the outrages any more. He asked the people to give him a fast ship so that he could sail on it to Pylos to Nestor, where he hoped to learn something about his father. Telemachus was supported by only one reasonable Mentor, a friend of Odysseus; he reproached the people for allowing his suitors to offend Telemachus in this way. Citizens sat in silence. From among the grooms rose leokrit. He, mocking Telemachus, threatened Odysseus with death if, upon returning, he tried to drive the suitors out of his house. Leocritus was so audacious that he even arbitrarily dissolved the people's assembly.

In deep grief Telemachus went to the seashore, and there he turned with a plea to Pallas Athena. The goddess appeared to him, taking the form of a Mentor. The goddess advised him to leave the suitors alone, as they, in their blindness, are preparing for their own death, which is getting closer and closer. The goddess promised to get a ship for Telemachus and accompany him on his way to Pylos. The goddess commanded him to go home and prepare everything necessary for a long journey.

Telemachus obeyed her. He found the grooms at home. They were about to start a feast. Antinous met Telemachus with ridicule and, taking him by the hand, invited him to take part in the feast. But Telemachus angrily pulled his hand away and left, threatening the suitors with the wrath of the gods. Telemachus called his faithful servant Eurycleia and went to the vast storeroom of Odysseus to get everything necessary for the journey there. Eurycleia alone was told by Telemachus of his decision to go to Pylos and asked her to take care of her mother during his absence. The faithful servant of Telemachus began to beg not to leave Ithaca - she was afraid that the son of Odysseus would die. But he was adamant.

Meanwhile, Pallas Athena, assuming the image of Telemachus, went around the whole city, gathered twenty young rowers and also went to Noemon to ask for a ship. Willingly gave his beautiful ship to Noemon. Now everything was ready to leave. Athena, invisible, went to the hall where the grooms were feasting, and plunged them all into a deep sleep. Then, assuming the image of a Mentor again, she led Telemachus out of the palace and took him to the seashore to the ship. Telemachus' companions quickly transferred the supplies prepared by Eurycleia to the ship and loaded them onto the ship. Telemachus boarded the ship with an imaginary Mentor. Athena sent a tailwind and the ship quickly rushed into the open sea.