The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Odysseus Essay

The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Odysseus Essay

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From modern fiction to Greek myths there are heroes in most stories. Every hero follows, at least, one or more aspects of the hero motif. Throughout fictional history, there are some heroes that stood the test of time. Gilgamesh, from The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Odysseus, from The Odyssey, are two heroes that fallow the hero motif. While both Gilgamesh and Odysseus are traditional heroes, Odysseus fallows the traditional hero role more than Gilgamesh.
Both Odysseus and Gilgamesh are heroes and share many common events during their story. Most heroes have an extraordinary birth or childhood. Gilgamesh was born two-thirds god and one-third man, so his birth was extraordinary because he was a Demi-god among men. Odysseus also had an extraordinary childhood because he was the prince of Ithaca. At a young age, Odysseus would be trained to rule over a kingdom and also become an elite warrior during times of war. Both heroes also gained helped for divine powers. During Odysseus’ journey to go back to Ithaca, he was helped by the goddess Athena. She helped him seek aid for another kingdom and protected him when the families of the suitors were hunting Odysseus. Gilgamesh received help from the Sun god Shamash in order to defeat the demon Humbaba, who protected the forbidden woods. Odysseus and Gilgamesh both face insuperable obstacles during their story. Gilgamesh, along with his friend Enkidu, fought a giant Bull that was casting plague and disease upon Gilgamesh’s kingdom. Odysseus had to fight many foes on his journey back to Ithaca. The cave of the Lotus eaters and Polyphemus the Cyclops were two of the many challenges that Odysseus had to face. Both heroes also had gods as their adversaries. Gilgamesh’s angered the goddess of love whe...


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...shown when the goddess Calypso offers Odysseus immortality and herself as his lover for eternity. Even when offered immortality and a goddess Odysseus declined and he instead worked for four days straight to make a boat (Homer book V line 201-224). Odysseus kept his wit and never faltered to meet his Penelope.
Gilgamesh and Odysseus are traditional heroes. Their origins and pursuits were different but they shared many things in common. Odysseus followed the role of a traditional hero more so the Gilgamesh. Both Gilgamesh and Odysseus defeated divine enemies, had extraordinary lives, face fierce challenges, and completed their journey to the end. However, Gilgamesh was selfish in nature, which is unbecoming of a hero, and solved most issues with brute force. Odysseus was tactful and strong willed, key aspects of any hero, and above was always mindful and respectful.

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