In The Odyssey, Odysseus rejects the offer of immortality from the goddess Calypso long after he discovers the true nature of the afterlife after travelling to Hades. In Hades he meets Achilles who tells him “I’d rather slave on earth for another man. than rule down here over all the breathless dead’ (“Odyssey”, 265). Given such strong words from someone who has experienced the afterlife first hand, all of horrifying sights of the underworld, and the fact that Odysseus himself flees the underworld; one would be lead to believe that Odysseus would take up any offer that would him to dodge a fate in the underworld. Along with these reasons, Odysseus has endured many trials and tribulations over the course of his travels that might convince him to accept the offer of immortality.
Despite all of these perfectly sensible reasons for accepting the offer of immortality, Odysseus sticks to his guns and turns the offer down. One of his reasons is that he realizes that an immortal life would be a long and boring one, and Odysseus lives for excitement and glory. This, however, is not his most important reason that Odysseus turns down this offer of immortality. This is presented beginning on line 236 of Book V where Odysseus openly admits that Penelope cannot compare in beauty or stature, but he still pines for her. Also going along with this concept, is Odysseus’ sheer determination to mak...
... middle of paper ...
...nd the theme of immortality. However, each presents it in different ways. The Epic of Gilgamesh presents true immortality as deeds and actions that will keep your names in the memory of the people forever. In The Odyssey immortality is presented as something that is less important than your family and the people you love. This is reflected in each of the heroes decisions to turn down immortality; Gilgamesh turns it down because he knows the suffering would never make it worth it and Odysseus knows that he would never get to see his family again if he accepted the offer. The moral really is consider all the consequences before accepting something that seems all well and good.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Fagles, Robert. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. Print.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. Trans. Foster, Benjamin R. New York: W W Norton & Co Inc, 2001. Print.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Epic of Gilgamesh is the greatest text of Mesopotamia and one of the earliest pieces of world literature. Gilgamesh quest for immortality explores human concerns about death, friendship, nature, civilization, power, violence, travel adventures, homecoming, love and sexuality. (pg. 95) “The Gilgamesh of the epic is an awe-inspiring, sparkling hero, but at first also the epitome of a bad ruler: arrogant, oppressive, and brutal.” (pg.96) Gilgamesh is 2/3 god because of his superhuman strength and endurance; he is 1/3 human because of his mortality.... [tags: enkidu, uruk]
988 words (2.8 pages)
- The fear of death and the search for eternal life is a cultural universal. The ideology surrounding immortality transcends time and a plethora of cultures. The theme, immortality appears in stories from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was composed by ancient Sumerians roughly around 600 B.C., to present day works of fiction in the twenty first century. Gilgamesh, a figure of celestial stature, allows his mortal side to whittle away his power after the death of Enkidu. Undeniably, defenseless before the validity of his own end, he leaves Uruk and begins a quest for Utnapishtim; the mortal man who withstood the great deluge and was granted immortality by the gods (Freeman 36).... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Essays]
1509 words (4.3 pages)
- The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest surviving epic in history, reflected life as it was during the early Bronze Age. Many of the themes that the epic reveals are still valuable today in what it can teach us about how society was in the past. More importantly, Gilgamesh’s story teaches the reader how the lessons of his experience are significant to future generations. Such as, views on life and death and the search for knowledge and immortality. The search for immortality has plagued the minds of men and women for millenniums.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Immortality, Life, Sumer]
905 words (2.6 pages)
- The Search for Immortality In The Epic of Gilgamesh the main character, Gilgamesh, is searching for immortality. This want is brought about by deep feelings held by Gilgamesh for his dead friend Enkidu. From this, Gilgamesh finds himself being scared of dying. This fear pushes Gilgamesh to search for the power of immortal life, which is believed to be held only by women because of the fact that they can reproduce. This takes him on a long and tiresome journey to a land where no mortal has gone before.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- The search for immortality seems to be an obsession for many men and women all throughout history. In the Epic of Gilgamesh a man investigates the possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend, his brother Enkidu. That man, Gilgamesh, feeling the fear of the possibility of his own mortality which was before unrealized before the death of Enkidu, searches for a way to preserve himself. Is it truly that Gilgamesh searches for a physical immortality or more of a spiritual immortality.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia, Ishtar, Life]
823 words (2.4 pages)
- In, Gilgamesh, the quest for immortality is important in order for Gilgamesh to cheat death, after his one and only best friend’s quick fatal fall to illness. Gilgamesh being two-thirds God and one-third human has many great obstacles to overcome, especially with the Gods. The search for immortality and overall self may be a great accomplishment for Gilgamesh to overcome. We face many quest today in order to obtain certain intangible objects such as love, friendship, and curiosity. However, there are quest for the tangible objects in life like looking for the perfect book, trying to find your car keys, or playing hide and seek.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Humbaba, Ishtar]
1671 words (4.8 pages)
- Desperate Search for Immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh The search for immortality seems to be an obsession for many men and women all throughout history. In the Epic of Gilgamesh a man investigates the possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend, his brother Enkidu. That man, Gilgamesh, feeling the fear of the possibility of his own mortality which was before unrealized before the death of Enkidu, searches for a way to preserve himself. Is it truly that Gilgamesh searches for a physical immortality or more of a spiritual immortality.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
830 words (2.4 pages)
- Death and Immortality in The Epic of Gilgamesh The search for immortality has been a major concern for many men and women all throughout history. True love and immortality in life would be a dream come true to many. To spend time with a special someone, the person one feels closest to, and never have to say good-bye would greatly appeal to most people. But when death steps into the picture, even with all the pain and devastation, one starts to re-evaluate themselves. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh explores the possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend and brother, Enkidu.... [tags: The Epic of Gilgamesh]
1379 words (3.9 pages)
- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s pursuit for immortality is marked by ignorance and selfish desire. Desire and ignorance, as The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha suggests, pollutes man’s judgment resulting in his inability to break the cycle of birth and death. At the core of Gilgamesh’s desire resides his inability to accept the inevitability of death, making his rationality behind the pursuit of immortality ignorant and selfish. Implicitly, Gilgamesh’s corrupt desire for immortality conveys that Gilgamesh does not mature as a character.... [tags: Gilgamesh, Desire, Immortality]
1013 words (2.9 pages)
- Gilgamesh and the Quest for Immortality The stories of the hunt for immortality gathered in the Epic of Gilgamesh depict the conflict felt in ancient Sumer. As urbanization swept Mesopotamia, the social status shifted from a nomadic hunting society to that of a static agricultural gathering society. In the midst of this ancient "renaissance", man found his relationship with the sacred uncertain and precarious. The Epic portrays the strife created between ontological nostalgia for a simpler time and the dawn of civilization breaking in the Near East.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
1044 words (3 pages)