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.
Gilgamesh What makes the story of Gilgamesh an epic? Gilgamesh, the hero of this epic, achieves many feats of skill, which makes him famous, but that is not the reason it is an epic. The epic of Gilgamesh fulfills the requirements of an epic by being consistently relevant to a human society and has specific themes of immortality, friendship, grief, ect. Looking at literature throughout history, one can come to the conclusion that these theme are constantly passed on from one generation to another of humans. It is human nature for people to want to excel in life and strive to make a name in this world for themselves.
This book is composed of four main characteristics: fame, kingship, fate, and God, which play very important roles throughout the book. In Beowulf the Anglo-Saxons longed for fame. To them fame meant immortality. For example, the narrator says, "But Beowulf longing only for fame, leaped into battle" (Raffel 1529). To Beowulf the only reason to risk his life is a battle, is so he can have his moments of fame, hence immortality.
Beowulf fights many battles throughout his life, he killed all the monsters he faced, which shows his mig... ... middle of paper ... ... enormous risk that all the instincts of self-preservation resist”(Hanning 60). Beowulf is always ready to take the risks for the fame.Beowulf “fight Grendel alone and without weapons to maximize his chance for glory; if he fails he is fully aware that it will mean death”(Hanning 61). This clearly shows his bravery and how hard he goes to gain glory, and he values them all more than his life. His bravery keeps him to fight for glory, and this quality clearly makes him an epic hero. Beowulf is truly an epic hero, because of his wisdom, strength and bravery.
A true hero does not fear death or, but instead risks all that he is for what he believes to be right, moral, and just. Beowulf is an epic and tells the story of a legendary hero, conquering all obstacles as if he was immortal. Up until the end of Beowulf’s life he was constantly looking to be the hero. However, his humanity is exposed by his death. Heroes all share the characteristic of their willingness to die in their effort to accomplish their heroic act, thus making the act in itself heroic.
Beowulf was a character that was given or blessed by the gods to the people during his time to be a saviour against evil and to become a just ruler. Though the epic of Beowulf may have been over hyperbolized, the fact that many have sung tales of him dictates that he was a hero above all during his era, which leads to the point that Beowulf has done meritorious deeds to prove his existence. Heroes are mainly known for their adventures; Beowulf’s fame comes from his battles against monsters during his adventures. A character’s adventure is the very essence of how he can become a hero, and why he is deserving to be one. A hero’s worth and strength can only be determined through battles against their enemies.
Strength and power are definitely not the only possessions that could advance one in life even though they clearly distinguish the heroes from ordinary men. It is rather, more significantly, the process of internalization. No civilization emerges directly and independently – it is through the very concerns and actions of a man that one begins to assimilate as he or she encounters and surmounts them. In this epic poem, through the actions and larger than life experiences, emerged a very human concern with mortality, the quest for knowledge and also an escape from the common lot of men – death. For Gilgamesh, the most predominant heroic figure, the desires for divinity and destiny as a mortal man in this regard have become the gateway for the internalization of humanity through the following intertwining aspects: the meaning of love and compassion, the meaning of loss and of growing older as well as the meaning of mortality.
To the degree that these epics accurately reflect the society and culture of their own eras, one can see that men of these ancient times were as concerned about their ultimate destiny as we are. The epic stories of Gilgamesh and Beowulf illustrate that men and women throughout the ages have been keenly aware of their own mortality and that they long to live on eternally, if only in the memory of others. In the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, the ruler of ancient Uruk, is blessed with the gift of foresight. He has numerous dreams about his destiny and is very accepting of the fate that the gods have given him. The gods give Gilgamesh a dream and Enkidu interprets Gilgamesh’s vision concerning his fate.
This is presented beginning on line 236 of Book V where Odysseus openly admits that Penelope cannot compare in beauty or stature, but he still pines for her. Also going along with this concept, is Odysseus’ sheer determination to mak... ... middle of paper ... ...nd the theme of immortality. However, each presents it in different ways. The Epic of Gilgamesh presents true immortality as deeds and actions that will keep your names in the memory of the people forever. In The Odyssey immortality is presented as something that is less important than your family and the people you love.
Like in every mythology, the hero undergoes a transformation. Gilgamesh is no exception to this as he plays the role of the archetypal hero. As the hero of the epic, he experiences an inevitable spiritual and emotion rebirth after experiencing trials of hardship, anguish, and turmoil. He transitions from a royal pain to an individual worthy to be the King of Uruk. As the epic goes on, Gilgamesh and the readers learn the true secret of immortality, but not without experiencing a metamorphosis.