Comparing The Epic of Gilgamesh with The Odyssey

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The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey both are held in high respect by literature analysts and historians alike for the characterization of the hero and his companion, the imagery brought to mind when one of them is read, and the impressive length in relation to the time period it was written in. The similarities that these two epics share do not end with only those three; in fact, the comparability of these works extend to even the information on the author and the archetypes used. However, The Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh contrast from one another in their writing styles, character details, and main ideas. Both epics weave together a story of a lost man who must find his way, but the path of their stories contrast from one another. Of all the many similarities of The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey, the sharing of the main character’s archetype can be considered to be the most significant similarity of the two epics. Odysseus, the main character of The Odyssey, and Gilgamesh, the main character of The Epic of Gilgamesh, both fall under the character archetype of a hero, the man in charge of saving the day. This sameness implies that the two characters had similar fates and characteristics; both had the distinct traits of a hero. Both Odysseus and Gilgamesh were kings, strong, brave, and blessed by the gods. In addition, they both angered a god and suffered from the consequences. In The Odyssey, Odysseus had to change his route to avoid Poseidon’s wrath. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh angered Ishtar which consequently led to Enkidu’s death as a punishment ( “The Epic of Gilgamesh” 29). Both Gilgamesh and Odysseus had elements of arrogance in their personalities, and it was their arrogance that backlashed and caused... ... middle of paper ... ... of these epics share quite many similarities. For example, the archetypes used, the types of settings, and the themes are a few of plenty of comparabilities found among The Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, the most important similarity is that both of these epics are timeless; they have been passed down through generations spanning thousands of years, and they will continue to be read for many years to come. Works Cited Sandars, N. K., trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin, 2006. Print. Editorial Team. "The Odyssey Writing Style." Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. Stump, Colleen Shea, Kevin Feldman, Joyce Armstrong Carroll, and Edward E. Wilson. "The Epic." Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. By Kate Kinsella. Gold ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003. 975-1063. Print.
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