The Epic of Gilgamesh versus The Epic of Beowulf

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The Epic of Gilgamesh and Beowulf contain everything we can expect from a great epic literature. It portrays fantastic geographies, exotic characters, exhausting quests, heroic battles with monsters, supernatural beings and natural forces. Most important of all, they are two outstanding stories of a great epic hero who is compelled to meet his destiny and who rises to every challenge with courage and determination. Beowulf is the earliest surviving epic poem written in a modern European language. It was written in Old English sometime before the tenth century A.D. The poem describes the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. Beowulf is described as a perfect hero who fights for his people and gets rid of evil with his extraordinary abilities to bring peace and justice. Unlike Beowulf, The Epic of Gilgamesh was one of the first pieces of literature known to man. The epic was found among ruins in Ninevah in the form of twelve large tablets, dating to 2,000 B.C. The epic is believed to be based on the Archaic Sumerian king Gilgamesh who ruled the city of Uruk around 2700 B.C. The main character in The Epic of Gilgamesh is a very powerful man who is two-thirds immortal and one-third man. He too is thought to be a hero and possesses many of Beowulf’s heroic values, but he also possesses many differences. Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength and courage. He fought in many battles and won all besides his last. Beowulf was powerful enough to kill the monster Grendel, who had been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands. When the two battled off Beowulf grabbed Grendal’s arm and ripped it off at the shoulder. Beowulf then fought Grendel's ... ... middle of paper ... ...essed with becoming a hero. He set out to destroy Humbaba, his only ambition being to leave an enduring name. The one thing Gilgamesh feared was death. After his friend and companion, Enkidu, died Gigamesh became obsessed with death. He wept for seven days and seven nights before starting a great journey to find everlasting life. He searchers for a man named Utnapishtim, who was given eternal life by the gods, to find out how he escaped death. Beowulf's strength, and his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own, and the fact that he does not fear death makes him revered by all, especially those of his time. In both epics the heros possessed god-like strength and defeated many evil beings. Both were courageous and feared no man or creature.Beowulf stuck to a stricter code of ethics.Beowulf is the prime example of an epic hero, and he embodies the conduct.

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