Comparing the Bhagavad-Gita and the Epic of Gilgamesh

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Merriam- Webster online dictionary defines an epic hero as, “ A grand and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or effected by grand events.” The same dictionary also defines an epic poem as, “a story told about a hero or exciting events.” The Epic of Gilgamesh is often considered the oldest story on earth; which would make Gilgamesh, the story’s controversial main character, and the world’s oldest epic hero. This epic set a precedent for all epics to follow; it displayed most of the traits that society commonly perceives an epic hero and epic poem should have. The Epic of Gilgamesh exhibits tendencies of an epic poem through its inclusion of an epic hero, multiple gods and goddesses, and it’s vast array of settings across the world. Additionally, Gilgamesh presents attributes of an epic hero through his quest for immortality, his noble birth and his battles with superhuman foes. On the other hand, Arjuna is the main character of “The Bhagavad-Gita”, the 63rd minor book of the Mahabharata. The story follows Ajuana’s spiritual tutoring from his good friend Lord Krsha, whom is god in the form of a human. Ajuana displays a few characteristics of an epic hero, and The Bhagavad-Gita does show a trait or two of an epic poem. However, there is more evidence working contradicting it “The Bhagavad-Gita” not being an epic poem and Ajuana being an epic hero. The Bhagavad does not have an epic hero, nor does it take place in a series of different settings, albeit it did have a have one God within the story. Ajuana is not from noble birth, he does not battle any superhuman foes, nor does he embark on an epic journey. There are three main characteristics that make The Epic of Gilgamesh an epic. The first be... ... middle of paper ... ...d goddess, and an array of settings across the world. Similarly, the story’s main character Gilgamesh exhibits traits of an epic hero through his quest for immortality, his noble birth, and his run ins with superhuman foes. Ajuana des embark on a conquest, but is not of Nobel birth, nor does he battle a superhuman foe. This leaves The Bhagavad-Gita without an epic hero, which is a very basic component of an epic poem. It also lacks an array of setting a multiple gods and goddess. The key word is multiple. Taking everything into consideration, “The Bhagavad-Gita” and Ajuana do not meet enough requirements to be considered an epic poem and an epic hero. Works Cited An Cyclopedia Brittana Company. Merriam-webster. CBC, 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Trans. Benjamin R. Foster. Text. Martin Puncher. New York: W.W and Company, 2013.Print.

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