Heroes From Ancient Literature Cry

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Why do so many heroes from ancient literature cry? In every epic there is always a scene where the heroes are weeping, pulling their hair, gnashing their teeth, and ripping their cloths. Achilles weeps over Patroclus (Homer 239), Aeneas cries over his fallen city (Virgil 985), Gilgamesh mourns wetly for the death of his soul mate (Sumerians 138), and Arjuna at least sniffles over having to fight family and friend (Krishna 1286). Are heroes not supposed to be the embodiment of strength? If so, why are they displaying the most extreme signs of weakness? Most heroes are demigods, half man, half god, or in Gilgamesh 's case, true to his inclination towards one-upmanship, two-thirds god. This makes them greater than ordinary men, greater in strength and speed, as well as in cunning and skill. There is a flip side to this, however. They also feel greater. Great is their sorrow and great is their joy; great is their love and great is their rage. If you compare these heroes, you see the common threads of greatness: parentage, deeds, and flaws. Gilgamesh, Arjuna, and Achilles come from different cultures, but each is great in their own way. An immortal god’s biggest weakness is their immortality, from which boredom is born. From that boredom heroes are born, literally. Many gods from many pantheons passed time with mortals, time that resulted in the creation of a demigod. Achilles was the son of a seas nymph, Aeneas the son of Venus, Arjuna the son of the god Indra, and even poor Oedipus could trace his lineage back to Poseidon. This is important. Gods are even greater than heroes, in power, virtues, and especially in the Greek pantheon, flaws. Unlike their mortal offspring, gods never had to worry about the consequences their flaws wroug... ... middle of paper ... ...rgy. It took a friendship even greater than that of Achilles and Patroclus to settle him down. Somewhat. Enkidu was a being who had to himself learn the ways of man, so he was uniquely fitted to teach this to Gilgamesh. The loss of this friend nearly broke Gilgamesh, and he spiraled into that familiar heroic self-pity. His fear of death, and his fear of a world without him, born of an arrogance shared with Achilles, was what shook him out of mourning and into his last quest with a determination that he shares with Arjuna. Three different heroes, from three different cultures, from three different eras, and yet they are so similar. Humanity, as well as divinity, is the common denominator. Humanity will always need heroes, and our heroes will always stand the test of time. The reason is simple, heroes reflect humanity 's greatest aspirations, and its greatest fears.
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