Odysseus’s fight against the suitors of Penelope is the supreme ordeal of his epic journey. After the Trojan war and ten years of wandering, he returns home. There, he finds many suitors desiring to occupy his position and marry his wife. With the help of Telemachus, he manages to trick all the suitors and then kill them.
When Odysseus departed for the Trojan War, he left his wife and son at home. Many young representatives of the Ithacan elite wanted to occupy his place. They decided that Penelope was a widow and desired to marry her. There were 108 suitors, the most prominent of whom included Antinous, Eurymachus, and Amphinomus. The suitors occupied the palace and filled it with parties, fun, and entertainment. As Telemachus mentioned, they were “eating up” his house pretending to take care of his mother, Penelope. The life they enjoyed could lead to wasting all Odysseus’s wealth and destroying his kingdom.
Upon arrival to Ithaca, Odysseus needed to find a way to clean his home from the suitors. As their number was high, he decided to trick them. His son Telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius helped Odysseus in his fight. During one of the feasts, Penelope brought Odysseus’s bow. She declared that she would marry anyone who managed to shoot an arrow using it through twelve axes. Nobody could even string the bow. Only Odysseus, dressed as a beggar, fulfilled the task.
After shooting through the twelve axes, Odysseus took another arrow. He killed Antinous, the most arrogant of all the suitors. He then revealed his identity. The remaining suitors got terrified and tried to escape. However, Odysseus planned to kill all of them. Therefore, he had the palace doors locked. Odysseus took all his enemies’ lives. Thus, he finished his supreme ordeal and returned to his wife and home.