A disguised Odysseus and his unknowing servant Eumaeus, are eating breakfast when watchdogs start to whine at a person walking towards the house.
Telemachus, Odysseus' son, has returned from his search for his father in Pylos and Sparta. Telemachus does not recognize his disguised father. Eumaeus cries over Telemachus' return and tells him about the misfortunes of his mother and the turmoil in Ithaca.
Odysseus offers an oblivious Telemachus his seat. However, a gracious Telemachus refuses his offer. Eumaeus, the hospitable host, prepares another seat of fleeces.
Athena, goddess of wisdom, appears and makes Odysseus' disguise disappear. Telemachus comes to an understanding that the man is his father. Father and son meet for the first time in twenty years. They embrace as they both begin to cry.
Odysseus, again disguised as a beggar, walks towards the palace gates with Telemachus and Eumaeus. Odysseus does not want to be recognized by any who mean him wrong. Despite his disguise, his old dog Argos, who was left to die in the dung piles, recognizes him.
After being neglected by his caretakers for twenty years, Argos is content to die after seeing his true master one last time. The men continued on their journey towards the palace without realizing Argos was gone.