I recently began reading the Odyssey and I am fascinated with it. I am on Book 22 and I am a bit confused. I have 2 questions

1- On book 21- Why is it that the gods are all on Odysseus's side now when they've been trying to prevent his return to Ithica?

2- On book 22- Why is it that all the suitors run away from Odysseus instead of attacking him since they out number him greatly?

thanks in advanced
Could #2 be because he's Odysseus the great warrior?
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Could #2 be because he's Odysseus the great warrior?

Aye. I think it was mostly a fear thing. Here's this guy, who went off to a huge war, was a renowned warrior, and disappeared. Everyone's assumed that he been dead for years, and all of a sudden he's back, and he's the only guy strong enough to flex this bow.
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i think number 1 is because of the curse laid by polyphemus the cyclops. Posiedon is polyphemus's father, and tries to make good on his son's request to not let odysseus get home. i think all teh gods who were on good terms with posiedon helped him as well.
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1 - Polyphemus cursed that if Odysseus was fated to return home (which he was) then he should return with none of his crew (amongst other crap). So when his men ate the cattle of the sun god, the god acts out and Zeus appeases him by saying he will deal with them. Athene favours Odysseus throughout the book (or as my teacher says, "Has a little bit of a soft spot for him"), and when Odysseus washes up at Calypso's island, Athene begs her father Zeus to let him return home. So Zeus sends Hermes to the island to tell Calypso to let him go. They're not all on his side per se, half of them don't have any arguments with him returning home (except Poseidon - but the curse said he would still return home) and the sun god whose argument was with his crew (which died) so... yeah! ^^ Athene is the only one on his side, but there are only like 5 main gods in the play so yeah

2. Odysseus is a respected man and the suitors know they don't have a chance to beat him. As you can see in the book "The Great Bow" no-one but Odysseus can shoot it through the rings, or even string it for that matter. The only reason the suitors STARTED abusing the rules of hospitality (another reason why they're so scared - break the rules of zeus, you aren't getting away that easy), was because they assumed Odysseus was dead and that his son Telemachus was a push-over anyway (Book..1? They laugh at him when he gives that speech). They run away at first because he is well armed and they're just slumming it with no armor or weapons. But the cow herd (beginning with M) gets them armor and weapons, but even then. Odysseus was one of the most trusted advisers and counsellors of the Trojan War. He is very cunning and everyone knows of his fame and strategms. They were just lowly suitors, I'd be shitting myself if the owner of the house I was slowly demolishing, as well as being a respected and feared hero (declared winner of the brave arms of achilles - thus leading to the death of Ajax) came back with a vengeance, I'd definately consider running! But a lot of them do fight IIRC, till he starts raping them~