Character deficiencies and external events force these three characters to embark on a journey that may be physical, metaphorical, or both. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, but he is not a kind or gentle ruler. The narrator describes Gilgamesh as "surpassing all kings, for his stature renowned" (I.30) and yet the people pray to the gods for help because Gilgamesh "would leave no son to his father" (I.67) or "girl to her mother" (I.73). In other words, Gilgamesh sees nothing wrong with taking what he wants from his people, including their lives. However, when Gilgamesh's best friend dies, he finds himself face-to-face with his own mortality, which he is not prepared to accept as inevitable. Gilgamesh states, "I have grown afraid of death . . ." (IX. 5). He decides to continue wandering the land un...
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These timeless tales relate a message that readers throughout the ages can understand and relate to. While each of these tales is not exactly alike, they do share a common core of events. Some event and or character flaw necessitates a journey of some kind, whether it is an actual physical journey or a metaphorical one. The hardships and obstacles encountered on said journey lead to spiritual growth and build character. Rarely does a person find himself unchanged once the journey is over.
Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. The Norton anthology of Western literature. 8th ed. Ed. Sarah Lawall. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
Anonymous. The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation, Analogues, Criticism. Trans. Benjamin R. Foster. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Viking, 1996. Print.
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