Gilgamesh and Odysseus were two heroes from two totally different time periods that were both in search of the meaning of life. The epics that the two characters are featured in Gilgamesh, was developed from early Mesopotamia and the Odyssey in early Greece. Gilgamesh was a very popular and it was very valuable to the historian of Mesopotamian culture because it reveals much about the religious world, such as their attitudes toward the gods, how a hero was defined and regarded, views about death and friendship. The Odyssey was also very popular in it’s time. It was set in ancient Greece where in its culture; mythology was the heart of everyday life.
The Greek Culture turned to mythology to explain different phenomena for which they had no scientific explanation and this was prominent in the epic the Odyssey. While preparing to write this paper, I thought it would be great just to focus on the heroes of these two great epics many differences. Although during the course of my research I found that they also had just as many similarities. In this paper I will focus on the two characters by expressing their differences, as well as their similarities, and I will also give a bit of history about our two heroes. Gilgamesh, the hero from the epic Gilgamesh, was the historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the river Euphrates in modern Iraq: he lived about 2700 B.
C. Odysseus, the hero from the epic the Odysseus, was the ruler of the island kingdom of Ithaca. He was one of the most prominent Greek leaders of the Trojan War. Both of these men were granted certain strengths, Gilgamesh had physical, while Odysseus had mental strengths. Gilgamesh was a very self confident and at times that self confidence led to him to have little compassion for the people of Uruk at he beginning of the story. He was their king, but not their protector; he kills their sons and rapes their daughters.
... all time here gone before us.' (p. 1 A Heroes Adventure). This quote from Joseph Campbell tells you the essence of a hero. Odysseus ... might be a hero in the book but Telemachus was the one ... the spiritual journey making him more of a hero than Odysseus. In conclusion the real hero according to Campbell is actually Telemachus. It ...
He felt like he was superior to others due to the fact that he was two-thirds god, his mother was a goddess Nin sun and one third human. This fact is the key to all of his actions. This is also what sets him apart from the hero Odysseus. While Gilgamesh was a hero thought to be more beautiful, more courageous, more terrifying than all of the people of Uruk.
Even though his desires, attributes, and accomplishments were just as there’s, he was still mortal. He had to experience the deaths of others and ultimately die himself. Odysseus’s character was also very self confident and was most known for his cleverness and cunning, and for his eloquence as a speaker. Odysseus was said to be the “hero of a thousand disguises” He is the forever loyal husband, who eyes are fixed on the goal of, returning home.
Although he faces great trials, tribulations, and temptations, nothing stands in the way of his ultimate imperative. He was also an eternal wander, fired with the passion of knowledge and experience. Even when he returns home from his journey, he must set out again and continue wandering until death. His great sprit is shown throughout the entire epic.
He was much respected from the beginning of this epic until the very end and this is what sets him apart from Gilgamesh. Odysseus was at time an anti-hero, just like Gilgamesh was in the beginning of his epic. He was also mean, very selfish time-server who employs disguise and deceit often to gain the most disreputable ends. Many classical Greeks and Romans frequently saw him in this light. Both of the heroes represent godlike mental, physical, and spiritual power to the task of overcoming supernatural enemies. Gilgamesh and Odysseus are both men who have been granted certain strengths, one with physical, while the other one has been granted mental strength.
Sometimes there were careful in the decisions they made with the extreme power they possessed, and at other times they were careless. Gilgamesh and Odysseus had to experience many hardships and make certain mistakes. They seem to find themselves, through life lessons, just like any average man and the fact that Gilgamesh is part god ultimately has no bearing on whether he will live or die. The two heroes are compared as expressions of searches for this meaning of life through knowledge. The two stories are somewhat mirrors of themselves when it comes to that particular theme. In the end, both of our great heroes, Gilgamesh and Odysseus were subject to the same challenges we face today.
Throughout literature there are many heroes. However, the Epic of Gilgamesh was the first written epic, making Gilgamesh the first recorded epic hero. Gilgamesh possesses many qualities traditionally associated ... flood, and how he was rewarded with eternal life. After Gilgamesh insists on receiving eternal life, Utnapishtim challenges him to stay awake for ...
We all must go through our own trials and tribulations. We must all make our on journeys through life to find out its meaning. While both of the epics contain both fictional aspects, they also reflect historical aspect and situations you can apply to everyday life. With that being said I will leave you with a passage from Gilgamesh. You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted him death, but life they retained in their own keeping.
As for you Gilgamesh, fill your bell with things: day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man. If only life could be that simple. Endnotes Andrew, George.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. Great Britain: Penguin Classics, 1999 Johnson, Claudia Durst, and Johnson, Vernon. Understanding the Odyssey. Greenwood press, 2003. p 5. “The Epic of Gilgamesh: Study Guide.
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