Essay on Gilgamesh, Achilles and the Human Condition

Essay on Gilgamesh, Achilles and the Human Condition

Length: 3895 words (11.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gilgamesh, Achilles and the Human Condition

Gilgamesh and Achilles, each heroes of their respective epic tales, embody the whole array of typical heroic attributes. They stand above. They are men set apart. They operate somehow in that area that lies between average mortals and the gods themselves. They are stronger, faster, more wily than those they face in battle. They overcome. They are men who stand alone in their various strengths.

They are also susceptible to weakness. Each of them, at pivotal times in their stories, are reduced to debilitating grief. They are brought low. At least for a moment, they are given the clarity to see some of the errors in their ways. They stand alone. But it is now different from the typical heroic way of being alone, against the world, against an overwhelming foe. It is at these times that they are alone; but it is a solitude different from that with which the typical hero is familiar. It is the kind of isolation which breeds creativity. It is the beginning of a movement in their characters form warrior to poet.

This moment of realization, in both cases, seems to be intimately tied to the rare experience of vulnerability. They become all that is seemingly opposed to the heroism with which they are identified. They become weak. Ironically, though, it is precisely in this weakness that they are made truly strong. Or rather, they are given the clarity to see their "true selves." It seems that it is necessary for each of these characters to suffer this seeming loss of dignity in order to find their true identity, their true place in the world. Part of this self-discovery involves the creative process through which they begin to find their respective "voices" which allows them to tell thei...

... middle of paper ...

...ormation himself, he does go back home and order the story told. Though Achilles himself succumbs to his own wrath which ultimately brings upon his own demise, he does appear later in Homer's work. Achilles is able to give the account of himself from the underworld to Odysseus as he attempts to make his way through life. Little by little, it seems, though no one ever seems to completely "get it," the narrative of the human condition as transmitted through the epic tradition does go on. There are great victories along the way. There are mistakes made which bring dire consequences. Heroes and everyday people act sometimes out of pride, sometimes fear, sometimes anger, sometimes even out of humility and selflessness. One way or the other, the adventure of the human spirit does continue and epics like Gilgamesh and The Iliad continue to shed light on the whole endeavor.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Human Condition as Seen in Beowulf and Lliad Essay

- Many cultures in the ancient and medieval worlds found courage as a value and virtue associated with warriors. To a great extent, western cultures also find courage as an attribute of warriors. This courageous cultural tendency gets its imaginative manifestation in literature of heroic societies such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, homer’s Iliad and Beowulf. These Epic heroes which show human conditions are Gilgamesh, Achilles from Homer's Iliad and Beowulf. Although, the actions and lives of these warriors occurred at different times in history, their stories are passed on from generations to generations and they share a lot of commonalities but with some discrepancies based on their lives, thei...   [tags: achilles, gilmaesh, epic heroes, courage]

Powerful Essays
1065 words (3 pages)

Essay about Human Condition As Explored Through Media

- The human condition is the concept which covers the emotions and struggles that man faces during their life. The element of human condition in the texts allows the reader to connect with the text creating another level of interactivity without viewing it at face value. Michael Gows’ play Away was written in 1986 and explores this issue through its array of allusions and thematic concerns. These concepts are further explored in the 2001 film Requiem for a dream which was directed by Darren Aronofsky and in the 2005 short story Chance Traveler by Haruki Murakami....   [tags: Human Condition]

Powerful Essays
510 words (1.5 pages)

Unbroken By Laura Hillenbrand : Human Condition Essay example

- Randy Pausch once said, “No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse (Goodreads).” This statement reflects the theme of human conditions that have been encountered by the characters in the novel, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Human condition discusses the idea of the positive and negative aspects of existence as a human being (Dictionary). As Hillenbrand recounts the journey to survival during the World War II of Louie Zamperini, she created an inspiring, non-fiction literature....   [tags: Human, World War II, Human condition]

Powerful Essays
1675 words (4.8 pages)

Essay on The Human Condition: Existentialism in Literature Relates to Religion

- Noam Chomsky firmly believes that novels, as well as other literary works, peer deeper into humanity than scientific theory ever will (Chomsky). Literature being a means of introspection is known to be true; a solitary manuscript contains the lives of countless characters. Slowly unearthing details, and remaining helpless as a plot twist unfolds, the reader discovers truths of not only those who cannot leave the paper bound prison, but begins to formulate who they are and how the world has warped the author....   [tags: Human Condition, Noam Chomsky]

Powerful Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

The Epic Of Gilgamesh, And The Iliad Essay

- In Genesis, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Iliad, the relationship between the gods, nature, and humanity is highly complicated, with the gods typically ranked as the most powerful, although the power balance between nature and human beings depends on the source of the literature. That being said, in all of the writings, the gods have a tendency of coming to nature’s defense when humans disrespect it, thus implying a more fluid distribution of power in the hierarchy. The Bible famously opens with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, which encompasses essentially all aspects of non-living nature....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad, Achilles, Ishtar]

Powerful Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

Gilgamesh : The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

- In numerous literary works, we see significant changes in the protagonist as a narrative develops. This is true in The Epic of Gilgamesh with its protagonist, Gilgamesh. In this narrative poem, we get a look at who Gilgamesh is, what motivates him and what his objectives are. We see Gilgamesh act in a wide range of routes: as an oppressive ruler detested by his people, a bold and solid warrior, a flattened and discouraged man, lastly as a man who appears to be content with what he 's become. Through these changes, we see Gilgamesh 's mentality toward life change....   [tags: Odyssey, Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Achilles]

Powerful Essays
2351 words (6.7 pages)

Essay about The Human Condition: Contemplation Key to Understanding

- The Human Condition: Contemplation Key to Understanding Ask the average American what the problems facing his country are, and you will get a battery of standard responses. Some people will say health care, others violent crime, and still others will say drugs. There will probably be some who complain of high taxes or express a need for gun control. Certainly, there is evidence to support the fact that these are all issues of great importance. However, these are only superficial, and there is a deeper problem that will not have a simple legislative solution....   [tags: Hannah Arendt Human Condition Essays]

Powerful Essays
572 words (1.6 pages)

Essay about The Human Condition: Freedom Expropriated by Corporations

- The Human Condition: Freedom Expropriated by Corporations Arendt's ideas in The Human Condition have laid the foundation on which American society is grounded, and are particularly useful for looking at America today. American citizens have been displaced from the Arendtian model of the modern age. The American government has lost its freedom by having been expropriated from the realm of freedom in the vita activa. Capitalism and large corporations now wield the most power and economic influence in America today....   [tags: Hannah Arendt Human Condition Essays]

Powerful Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)

America’s Mergence of Personal and Public Realms in Arendt’s The Human Condition

- America’s Mergence of Personal and Public Realms in Arendt’s The Human Condition America is a superpower, irrefutably the most dominant nation in the world. Underlining this supremacy, however, is the fact that America's society is facing several problems. Among these problems is what Hannah Arendt calls the emergence of society through the mergence of both the personal and public realms. This major problem has spawned numerous other problems, so has been chosen as the underlying cause for the tribulations of modern American society....   [tags: Human Condition]

Powerful Essays
644 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about The Human Condition: Message Lost in the Capitalist Machine

- The Human Condition: Message Lost in the Capitalist Machine In The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt, the fundamental qualities of human behavior are described and analyzed. These qualities are first described by discussing the different entities present in the lives of Athenian Greeks. This partition of human life into separate units is supposed to be applied to modern American society as well, however, the structure of today's social order differs from that of ancient Greek. These disparities cause the analysis and ideas projected on the human condition to be contrasting as well....   [tags: Hannah Arendt Human Condition Essays]

Free Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)