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The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

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Character is built in several different ways. Some may view character as how one handles a certain hectic situation or how well one person treats another. A true definition character contains these elements, but one’s character is built and developed mainly on how one picks and chooses his time to act and his time to wait. This definition refers to restraint and discipline. Gilgamesh and Homer’s The Odyssey uses many instances in which the main characters must use incredible restraint to protect not only themselves, but also the ones they care for and love. Although both stories use this theme of self-control and discipline to develop certain personalities, each one tells a different account of how these characters are viewed by their fellow men and women and the rewards that come from showing the traits of restraint and self-will. In Gilgamesh, the character that holds back and exhibits patience is viewed as a coward, as Gilgamesh believes, and is a sign of a lack of bravery and confidence. The way that patience is portrayed in Gilgamesh reflects how the society of the time feels about everything in their lives. The author of this story wants the reader to believe that one must not hesitate and must act decisively and quickly. Opposing this belief, Odysseus holds back emotions of rage and homesickness in order to complete the task at hand. Homer, living in Greek society, understood that his people thought more about the problem before coming to a quick conclusion and then acting on it impulsively. So, although both stories repeat the concepts of self-restraint and discipline as character building qualities, they differ in the way that these attributes build or weaken a personality.
The story of Gilgamesh begins in the anci...


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... and he succeeded. His lack of self-discipline did not hurt his character, for he won each battle, and his people viewed him as a hero. In contrast, Odysseus at times did not show restraint and was punished for his actions. He only succeeded when he was able to hold back his raging emotions and wait for the time to strike. For this, Odysseus was praised as a leader and hero. Homer and the author of Gilgamesh both tell wonderful stories of adventure and conquest, but their stories also reflect the societies in which each lived. Regardless of the fact that Gilgamesh and Odysseus gained character in opposite ways, both societies in which they lived recognized their accomplishments and how they were achieved. Both societies accepted Odysseus and Gilgamesh as great heroes, and Homer and the author of Gilgamesh were successful in creating such developed characters.



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