- It begins with Penelope setting out the axes and bow of Odysseus to test the skill of the suitors. Penelope tells the suitors she will be the bride of the man who can string the bow with the greatest ease and shoot an arrow all the way through the 12 axes in a row.
- Eumaeus and the cowherd cry, which leads the suitor Antinous to make fun of them. He says the task will not be easy.
- Telemachus enters and says the games should begin. He sets up the axes and then tries to string the bow three times before Odysseus signals him to stop.
- The first suitor to try is Leodes, a seer. After he fails, he returns to his seat and says the bow will rob even the best of them of their life and breath. These words make Antinous unhappy. He orders Melanthius to bring is grease to rub on the bow. Eumaeus and the cowherd go outside to meet with the Odysseus-beggar. He asks them how far they would go to help Odysseus. When they proclaim their devotion to the death, he reveals his true…