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Summary Book XXI

Book 21
Penelope brings forth Odysseus' bow and announces the contest of the axes. The suitors attempt, in turn, to string the bow but none can bend it. Odysseus reveals his identity to Eumaeus and Philoetius and orders them to have all the gates barred. Meantime, Eurymachus and Antinous decline to enter the contest. Odysseus demands a try but the suitors are afraid lest he succeed where they have failed. Eumaeus brings him the bow, which Odysseus strings, and he shoots an arrow clean through the axeholes. At a sign from Odysseus, Telemachus straps on his sword and stands by his father.


 Homer