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Characteristics of Gilgamesh and Enkidu in Foster's The Epic of Gilgamesh

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Everyone has qualities that are heroic and noble, and everyone has their flaws. No matter who they are, or how perfect others think they are, people still have some negative qualities that can hurt their heroic ones. In the book, The Epic of Gilgamesh, by Benjamin Foster, both Gilgamesh and Enkidu had positive and negative characteristics that affected the outcome of their journey and their adventures they experienced throughout their lives.

Gilgamesh was considered a hero because he had many great qualities, such as loyalty, perseverance, and heroism. Although these are heroic traits, he also had his flaws and was self-righteous, selfish, and prideful. Gilgamesh was a great man and was seen as flawless and “perfect in strength” (4). He represented almost a human version of a god; therefore, making it hard to see his flaws because he seems so ideal. He appeared like the perfect man that had absolutely nothing wrong with him. He was very courageous and this was evident when he states, “There dwells in the forest the fierce monster Humbaba, [You and I shall] kill [him] [And] wipe out [something evil from the land]” (18). This statement shows both a heroic quality and a flaw in Gilgamesh. It shows his heroism and how he felt that he could accomplish great things. His statement also shows how prideful he was because he always wanted the glory and wanted to be seen as the hero. This comes from the fact that he was part human and part god and he knew how amazing everyone thought he was and felt that he needed to live up to that expectation. This can be seen as both positive and negative because it shows his determination, but yet shows his pride. Being prideful is not necessarily a good thing because in this situati...


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...eders, that journey is not to be undertaken” (21). His loyalty is obvious here because he was looking out for his friend and did not want him to go on any dangerous encounters. He also showed his loyalty and how much he respected Gilgamesh as a friend by stating, “Two cubs are [stronger] than a mighty lion” (39). He reinstates that they can handle anything together, and they will always face troubles together. He can be viewed as a bit of a follower because he sometimes fell into the steps of Gilgamesh and even though they were able to bring out great ideas in each other and accomplish great things, he still knew his place as a human, and that he would never be able to be seen as an equal to Gilgamesh. But because they both had similar heroic qualities, they were able to benefit each other with them, and they both really made a difference in each other’s lives.


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