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Is Gilgamesh An Epic Hero

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In the The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh sets on a journey to uncover his individuality and transforms from a brutal leader to a mature and astute king. The quasi-divine Gilgamesh debilitates his people by battle, forced labor, and his abuse of power. Gilgamesh is considered to be the greatest of all men until Enkidu is sent and counterweights Gilgamesh’s virtues and flaws. When Gilgamesh becomes fearful for his own death, because of the loss of his partner, he seeks eternal life. He unfortunately does not obtain eternal life, but instead he obtains the wisdom he needs to rule as a better king. This journey is what proves to make Gilgamesh an epic hero. Although, Gilgamesh is considered to be truly an epic hero in the end, there are some aspects…show more content…
The Epic of Gilgamesh is technically considered an epic because it contains an epic hero, the hero seek immortality, and a worldwide setting.. In order to be considered an epic, there must be an epic hero which appears to be missing at the start of the poem. He lacks the ability to do great deeds for others’ sake rather than his own glory. There are some aspects that appear to be unusual in the poem. Gilgamesh does not start off with a heroic moral status, which is what is needed to consider an epic hero. Gilgamesh gains this heroic moral status with the help of Enkidu. If Gilgamesh had never lost Enkidu, then he would still be a tyrannical ruler. He constantly boasts and abuses his power, such as when he would rape the women in his kingdom whenever he would desire. According to the narrator, “Gilgamesh would keep no girl to her mother! The warriors daughter, the young man’s spouse,” (101). The narrator is saying that Gilgamesh would take the young women on their wedding night and rape them. He robs the women of his kingdom of their dignity and virginity. Gilgamesh’s obscured abuse of power angered the gods, which is why they created…show more content…
His empathy for the loss of his best friend moves him to leave his kingdom and travel across the world to find eternal life. He is at a disappointing loss for recapturing his youth, but he is able to bring back the acumen he has gained on his journey back to his kingdom.This obtained wisdom enhances his heroic status. Gilgamesh is also very similar to another famous epic, The Iliad. The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad share many similarities. Both epic heros have a companion whom they value deeply. Gilgamesh’s deepest friend is Enkidu and Achilles’ closest companion is Patroclus. Without Enkidu, Gilgamesh would continue his tyrannical rule. Patroklos’s main purpose was to bring Achilles back into the war. Gilgamesh’s fear was death, while Achilles feared having legacy forgotten. Although they both have different fears, they both desire immortality above all
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