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Beowulf vs. Gilgamesh as Epic Heroes Essay

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Clack! Bang! Swish! Auuuuugh! This is the sound of clanging armor, flying spears, and slicing swords. The sound of men howling in agony as their limbs are severed from a blood thirsty blow of the enemies sword can be heard from the four corners of the earth. This can only be described as the sound of great battle. Battle was a very important part of a man’s life back during the seventh and eighth centuries. Every battle has a man who stands out at the forefront and shines above the rest. During these two time periods there stood two great men: Gilgamesh, the selfish, lustful king, and Beowulf the proud and boastful warrior. These two men, both powerful and well-respected, embody the true essence of what it means to be an epic hero. Gilgamesh’s lifestyle and rash decisions make him the perfect candidate for a life lesson by the gods. Beowulf and his boastful nature ultimately lead him to be great in life and to later fall. Finally, the two epic heroes both share some of the same good and bad qualities, thus, making each one slight mirror images of one another.
According to Webster's, an epic hero is “a larger than life figure from a history or legend, usually favored by or even partially descended from deities, but aligned more closely with mortal figures in popular portrayals”. The hero participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey, gathers allies along his journey, and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society from which the epic originates. They usually embody cultural and religious beliefs of the people. Many epic heroes are recurring characters in ...


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In conclusion, Beowulf and Gilgamesh totally exemplify what is truly means to be a tragic hero. The two men’s lifestyles ultimately determined how their destiny would lay out. Every epic hero is the same no matter where they come from. Their proud demeanor, superhuman abilities, and treacherous journeys qualify them as special individuals because no ordinary could ever possibly do all that they do. Even though every epic hero possesses a tragic flaw that ultimately leads to their downfall, they always seem to get some good done before they leave the earth and fade into the afterlife. They are always themselves no matter what any opposition may think. No matter the circumstances they believe in the glitz and glory of battle and they always die with their name going on for ages and ages, thus, making these two the epitome of what it means to be a true epic hero.


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