Penelope sets up a competition to see who would marry her if they shot the bow between the twelve axes. Telemakhos attempts to strike the arrow between them..
When Odysseus returns, Eurymachus has the bow. He feels disgraced that he cannot string it, because he knows that this failure proves his inferiority to Odysseus.
Telemachus takes control and orders Eumaeus to give Odysseus the bow. Needless to say, Odysseus easily strings it and sends the first arrow he grabs through all twelve axes.
Odysseus shoots a second arrow through the throat of Antinous. The suitors are confused and believe this shooting to be an accident. Odysseus finally reveals himself, and the suitors become terrified.
Telemachus gets more shields and swords from the storeroom to arm Eumaeus and Philoetius, but he forgets to lock it on his way out. Melanthios soon reaches the storeroom and gets out fresh arms for the suitors.
A full battle now rages in the palace hall. Athena appears disguised as Mentor and encourages Odysseus but doesn’t participate immediately, preferring instead to test Odysseus’s strength.