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.
In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh embarks upon a quest seeking immortality as a means to peace, meaning, and joy in life. He tries to reach it in many different ways, each as unsuccessful as its predecessor. The two main types of immortality are physical and through the actions or achievements of ones life. Gilgamesh tries first through his actions, but then undergoes a transformation which leads him to next attempt physical immortality. He eventually comes back to the point at which he began; however, now he realizes that the beginning point was always the object of his quest.
Life that gods retain in their own keeping is not human life, for human life in reality depends on the passage of time and every possibility of death (Sandars 102). Gaining nothing but a journey full of spiritual knowledge and insights, Gilgamesh learns to internalize the meaning of life with a sense of control as he returns to Uruk. For he is only a two third divine and one third human; he agrees with human constraints, he accepts his destiny, and he is now ready to be King Gilgamesh, the respectable King of Uruk until the end of his mortality. Works Cited Sandars, N. K. The Epic of Gilgamesh: an English Version, with an Introduction. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.
He takes on the aspects of outward uncivility that matches his inside. Since Gilgamesh is not civilized, he doesn’t function as well in or outside of society. When he’s looking for immortality, he relies on his strength and his uncivilized nature rather than allowing civilization to lead him to immortality. If he had allowed himself to listen to the gods who were trying to help him, the perhaps he would have achieved immortality rather than “hindering his own progress by smashing the Stone Ones” (George, 75) who were planning on helping him. Some would argue that Gilgamesh’s civility does, however, grow immensely through the epic.
Gilgamesh realizes his impending death and searches for immortality to obtain more fame and recognition. A very important part of the story is how the gods react to the way he has handled himself. Utnapishtim talks about the meritless journeys he went on instead of helping Uruk. This goes to show that even back in 2000 BC, they still knew how important it was to be a selfless leader. The story ends by
Every action of his led created a domino effect and him to go on a journey. For instance, the death of Enkidu was a contributing factor into Gilgamesh’s transformation. If Enkidu hadn’t died, Gilgamesh would have continued on living in an illusion. Perhaps, this epic is meant to be a cautionary tale to warn those with a similar lust for immortality to not indulge in it and rather concentrate their focus and energy on something tangible. Since the desire of immortality is impossible to attain and leaves much reparations.
Over the course of the Odyssey, Odysseus is on a mission to find glory, until he encounters Achilles. Odysseus’s mission begins to switch from seeking glory to a focus on returning to his homeland of Ithaca. The key reason for this change of heart is based on an encounter with Achilles. During this encounter, Achilles explains that he may have everlasting glory in the mortal world, but “the man [he] was” means nothing in the underworld (11.570). Through Achilles’s experiences, Odysseus sees that reuniting with his son is the most important thing he can do with his life.
The eternal life you are seeking you shall not find. When the gods created mankind, they established death for mankind, and withheld eternal life for themselves” (Gilgamesh 97). At the end of his journey, he learned that he must accept his mortality. Odysseus and Telemachus’ life seemed to constantly be at risk no matter what adventure they were on; however, their concern for death did not seem to impair
Once he arrives, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that nothing is forever. That houses are not made to stand forever and rivers not always to rise and that man is the same. The gods have decreed that man be mortal, although the day of his death they do not tell. He explains to Gilgamesh that the quest for immortality is pointless and unavoidable by the very nature of being human. Not satisfied, Gilgamesh then asks Utnapishtim who is himself a man how he managed to achieve immortality.
The gods give Gilgamesh a dream and Enkidu interprets Gilgamesh’s vision concerning his fate. Enkidu says that Enlil, father of the gods “has given you kingship, such is your destiny, everlasting life is not your destiny” (Sandars 70). With this revelation Gilgamesh knows his destiny very early in his journey. Rather than becoming angry at the gods, Gilgamesh accepts the gods’ choice to not give him eternal life. Instead, Gilgamesh wants to “set up his name in the place where the names of famous men are written, and where no man’s name is written yet he will raise a monument to the gods” (70-1).