The last (forty-first) day of the Odyssey brings an 'Underworld' scene (24.1–204), Odysseus' reunion with Laertes (24.205–412), and the confrontation and reconciliation with the families of the Suitors (24.413–548). Whereas the first two parts show the usual leisurely epic pace, the narrator rushes through the last part.
Though they have been suspected from antiquity onwards, the final scenes of the Odyssey are indispensable; cf. 23.296n.1 They bring the necessary closure of the story in the following ways. (i) Ring-composition † with the beginning of the story: we have another assembly of the Ithacans (24.420–66; cf. 2.1–259) and another council of the gods (24.472–88; cf. 1.26–95); for ring-composition as a closural device, cf. 13.36–63n.2 (ii) A great number of characters take their curtain call: Odysseus, Telemachus, and Athena, the ghost of Achilles, the ghost of Agamemnon, Amphimedon, Laertes, the herald Medon, and the seer Halitherses.3 (iii) An important theme of the Odyssey, the comparison of the fates of the various Trojan War veterans, is rounded off; cf. 1–204n. (iv) Two internal analepses † together bring a retrospective of almost the entire fabula † of the Odyssey: 23.310–41 (' ten years of travel) and 24.121–85 (the Suitors' three-year presence in the palace and their death at the hands of Odysseus). (v) Two external prolepses † inform the narratees about what will happen to Odysseus after the end of the story: 23.267–84 and 354–8.____________________