Odysseus lies down to sleep with a cloak thrown over him by Eurynome, but he has trouble sleeping because he can't stop thinking about killing the suitors. Then he hears the women who have been consorting with the suitors and their laughter makes him angry. Athena appears to talk with him. Odysseus says that he's worried that even if he should kill the suitors their families will want revenge. Athena tells him not to worry.
Odysseus manages to go to sleep, but then Penelope wakes up and starts to cry. She calls on Artemis. She thinks Artemis could kill her so she could go to the Underworld to see Odysseus. This would be better than marrying a worse man than Odysseus or spending her days crying and her nights with hauntingly bad dreams.
Odysseus wakes up and hears his wife weeping. He prays to Zeus for signs, one from within and one from outside. Odysseus receives one in the form of a thunderclap and another from a serving woman praying to Zeus that this might be the last day she has to grind enough wheat for the suitors. Odysseus interprets the signs to mean he should avenge himself on the suitors.
The maids set about fixing the fire. Telemachus gets up and puts on his full array. He asks Eurycleia if the Odysseus-beggar was well-tended because his mother tends to pay attention to second-rate people and ignore those of the better sort.
Eurycleia says Telemachus has no reason to fault her. She then tells the maids to clean the house or fetch water for a feast day. Men came in with firewood, and the the swineherd brings pigs, the goatherd and two shepherds bring goats. Melanthius complains that the Odysseus-beggar is still there. Philoetius comes with more animals. He asks Eumaeus about the stranger and then talks politely with Odysseus. Philoetius wishes the suitors gone and when the stranger says Odysseus will be there soon and kill them, Philoetius says Odysseus can count on his help.
The suitors contrive a new plot to kill Telemachus when an eagle with a dove in its talons flew by. The suitor Amphinomus says they should stop and go to dinner, which they do. They sacrifice sheep, goats, pigs, and a heifer, mixed wine, passed around bread, and ate. Telemachus seated Odysseus alone and warned the suitors to keep their hands and tongues to themselves.
Athena prompted the suitors to continue their insolence in order to rile up Odysseus further. One of them, Ctesippus of Same throws a heifer's foot at the Odysseus-beggar, but he ducks. Telemachus says it's a good thing he missed because otherwise he would have killed him.
Agelaus tells Telemachus he should talk with his mother and persuade her to marry one of them. Telemachus says he encourages just that, but he will not force her away.
The suitors start laughing. Theoclymenus says there is a gloom all around them, for which comment Eurymachus suggests he be thrown out. Theoclymenus says he has his own feet and can get out alone, but none of the suitors will be so lucky. Theoclymenus goes back to Piraeus. The suitors continue to provoke Telemachus and telling him to ship off the strangers.
Penelope comes down for the meal.
Read a Public Domain translation of Odyssey Book XX.