posted by Beth .
please explain the statement "The suitors are an embodiment of a heroic society in decay" I have to write a paper and would like to better understand that statement. This is from the epic Odyssey.
Odysseus did the heroic thing, in Homeric terms - he went off to war to show his solidarity with Menelaus and other kings of the Hellenic city-states of the time. He even is said to have convinced Achilles to join them all.
Read the first paragraph's section on hero and heroic, and then scroll down and read the section entitled Heroic Code. (Even though this article is about Iliad, all the descriptions of heroes pertains to Odysseus, too.)
The suitors, however, were anything but heroic. They behaved badly. They were parasites, taking advantage of Odysseus's wife's hospitality (eating and drinking from her stores). They were demanding. They were rude. They completely illustrate the "decay" part of any society.