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Essay on A Hero in the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Novel Monkey

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Hero is a word that is commonplace in our society. We seem to always be able to turn on the latest news story and find the newest local man who saved that beautiful kitten from that building that was burning down. When we say hero a vast array of different definitions come to people’s minds. Our definition of hero in our world is most definitely not a constant. In the Epic of Gilgamesh and the novel Monkey many would consider the main characters and their strongest companions nothing close to heroes but rather tyrants. I have to say that these people have defined hero too narrowly, and I must prove them of their folly. Monkey and Gilgamesh, despite the many sins they commit, highlight what it truly means to be a hero, reminding us to always aspire to greatness.
When asking people about what characteristics they think of when they think of a hero the most common answers would be doing good deeds and not allowing evil to flourish. This is what we have been made to believe. One of the first images that come to mind when the word hero is mentioned is a superhero. An image of Batman or Superman is likely, one who is good natured and conquers evil as it appears. Just doing good deeds or not committing evil sins is not enough. First you would have to distinguish the difference between an evil and a good action. The line between good and evil is so thin that specific attributes and certain actions are constantly being exchanged back and forth. We cannot decide as a society what is good and what is evil. A modern day example would be when the United States made the decision to bomb Japan during World War II. For Americans celebration ensued as it was thought to be a decisive moment of victory. Those who were involved in t...


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...king them personally aspire to be great. Gilgamesh is a hero for his unbelievable actions, and the adoration he received from his people. Enkidu may not be the hero Gilgamesh is but he can be considered quite the hero even by himself. Monkey was able to accomplish some incredible feats in his many lifetimes. Tripitaka, while not as much of a hero as Monkey, was invaluable to the success of the journey and was greatly rewarded because of it. Becoming a hero is not an easy task. There is a reason these characters are so well known from these literary classics. They reached for the sky in their achievements, and had plenty of successes along the way. It is not easy to become a hero, but if you do you live on forever in the hearts and minds of the future generations as you are remembered. Therefore, Gilgamesh did obtain the immortality he always sought after.



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