Why does Homer take an apparent detour to show the suitors’ arrival in Hades?

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akasha124 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Homeric scholars have argued as to why the last book exists for thousands of years.  Many argue that the book should have ended with Odysseus and Penelope in their marriage bed.  However, while that ending in some ways makes more sense, there are too many loose ends dangling if that was the ending.  But the resolution is sloppy.  Homeric principle suggests (even in the Odysseus) that someone needs a proper burial to enter Hades.  The suitors were not properly buried, so they should not be able to enter Hades.  However, it is likely that this was added as an afterthought to appeal to the audience in Homer's time.  Odysseus' slaughter of the suitors would then seem justified for their plotting since they were given admittance to Hades.