The Power of Friendship

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Throughout epics there always seems to be someone alongside the hero helping and keeping him on the path of his journey. This relationship can be seen as a friendship or can even go so far as to call it a brotherhood. The companion of the hero not only stands as character foil but also a guide emotionally and physically. Even through death the lesson taught by the companion still persist, and guide the hero to a greater understanding self, and the world. The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad, by Homer, both exemplify some of the lessons a companion teaches the hero. Both epics portray a hero’s need for a motivational friend or ally to help stand against overwhelming odds, and complete their journey. Without Enkidu many of Gilgamesh’s conquest could not have been possible or would have been left incomplete, and if Patroclus had not fought in Achilles place the Trojan’s would have lost the war. Epic heroes always have some sort of emotional issue they can not overcome alone whether it is hubris or a lack of confidence in their selves their companion is the one to motivate them back into action. In The Iliad Patroclus tries to motivate Achilles to help the Greeks but is unsuccessful and instead fights in Achilles armor hoping to raise their morale. However this endeavor results in his death. Patroclus’ death provides enough motivation for the grieving Achilles to return to the war seeking revenge for his lost friend. Even in Gilgamesh Enkidu motivates Gilgamesh when he begins to doubt himself: “Why my friend, do you raise such unworthy objections...this has dragged on long enough. The time has come to pour the copper into the mold” (Gilgamesh 5. 25-28). Enkidu reprimands Gilgamesh for doubting his abilities and proceeds to goad him to ... ... middle of paper ... ...Annis, David B. "THE MEANING, VALUE, AND DUTIES OF FRIENDSHIP." American Philosophical Quarterly 24.4 (1987): 349-55. University of Illinois Press. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.. Doyle, Micheal E., and Mark K. Smith. "Friendship Theory: Some Philosophical and Sociological Themes." Infedorg. The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education, 2002. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. themes/>. Homer. "The Illiad." Trans. Stanely Lombardo. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. By Martin Puchner. 3rd ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. 230-312. Print. Puchner, Martin. "Gilgamesh, The Epic of." Trans. Benjamin R. Foster. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. 99-151. Print.
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