Melánthios is the son of Dólios and the Ithakan goatherd of Odysseus. As he is bringing some goats to suitors in the palace for dinner, Melánthios sees Eumaios taking Odysseus (disguised as a beggar) to the palace. Melánthios contemptuously asks Eumaios, "Swineheard, where are you taking your new pig, that stinking beggar there, licker of pots?" (317). Melánthios continues to taunt Eumaios and Odysseus until "like a drunken fool he [kicks] at Odysseus' hip as he [passes] by" (317). Following Teirêsias' advice from the Land of the Dead, Odysseus practices self-restraint, "[bearing] it quietly" after considering "[whirling] and [beating] the life out of this fellow with his stick, or [tossing] him, brain on the stony ground" (317). However, Odysseus fails in the "restraint of shipmates" Teirêsias claims will be important, as Eumaios yells at Melánthios for his unprovoked, violent actions (188).


Melanthios is one of the worst offenders of Odysseus; he kicked Odysseus, screamed insults at him, and provides Suitors with weapons during the fight. For this, Melanthios is tied up with rope in a fashion that makes his bones grind into his sockets, and is then hoisted up above the hall, forced to watch the killings of his friends, the Suitors. After all the Suitors are killed, Melanthios is brought down from above the hall, and in return for all his wrong-doing, Odysseus mutilates his body while he is still alive. Odysseus cuts off his nose, ears, genitals, hands, and feet with a sword, all while Melanthios is still conscious. Odysseus then feeds Melanthios's genitals to his dogs, and Melanthios probably dies from loss of blood, a slow and painful death. He earns this slow, torturous death because of the many wrongs he did to Odysseus, and how he helped/perpetrated the Suitors to commit the crimes that they did.