In the Odyssey – Amphimedon, the desire to avenge the suitors motivated Odysseus to dress like a beggar. Odysseus’ disguise allows him to find out people’s true attitudes toward him. It protects him from being killed by his enemies.
In the twenty years since Odysseus left, Ithaca had significantly changed. Some people remained loyal to their king. Others lost faith in his return. In any case, Odysseus was risky to come back to Ithaca. He was unaware of what had changed there while he was away. For this reason, Athena decided to hide his identity. With her help, he could find out who remained loyal to him and who the suitors were. The goddess made Odysseus look like a beggar. He could speak with people and plot his revenge without disclosing his identity.
The first person, whom disguised Odysseus met, was his servant, Eumaeus. The man treated Odysseus hospitably and kindly and said that he despised the suitors. Later, Eumaeus accompanies disguised Odysseus to the palace, where Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, suggested that Odysseus should walk around the suitors and ask for handouts. However, Antinous, the most arrogant of the suitors, insulted the beggar and even threw a stool at him.
Odysseus, dressed like a beggar, also met Penelope. Although she did not explicitly recognize her husband in the beggar, she was suspicious regarding his identity. She offered to hold a contest in which the one who would shoot with Odysseus’ great bow would become her husband. The next day, different men try to handle the bow but fail. Odysseus, in beggar’s disguise, took the bow and easily shot with it. After this, he tore off his beggar clothes and killed the suitors who betrayed him.