The Epic of Gilgamesh is Truly an Epic Essay

The Epic of Gilgamesh is Truly an Epic Essay

Length: 1815 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

An epic is an extensive narrative poem celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero. There are several main characteristics that make up an epic as a literary genre. First is that, it contains an epic hero, its hero searches for immortality (but doesn't find it physically, only through fame), it delivers an historical message, it is a long poem that tells a story, and the gods or other supernatural beings are interested and involved. The Epic of Gilgamesh is classified as an epic because it fits all the characteristics of an epic as a literary genre.
The first important characteristic of The Epic of Gilgamesh that helps to classify it as an epic is that it includes a hero. Gilgamesh is the story’s epic hero. Characteristics that determine an epic hero in the ancient world include strength, beauty, and high social status (Tigay 42). Gilgamesh fits all these descriptions. His great strength was described as that which could be matched by no other. His beauty was so evident that he could have any woman that he wanted. In fact, he slept with all the women in his city. Gilgamesh was also made 2/3 God and 1/3 human. This fact alone raised him up to a god-like social status. He was the king of Uruk because no one could challenge his strength or beauty. Most epic heroes are also widely known and famous which Gilgamesh, being king, obviously was. Aside from his attributes and status, the traditional epic hero must perform heroic feats (Abusch 620). Again, Gilgamesh fits into this category. First, Gilgamesh leads Enkidu on an adventure that will gain further fame for himself and his friend. This was the plan to take a journey to the sacred Cedar Tree and kill the Guardian of the Cedar Forest, Humbaba. This is...


... middle of paper ...


..., Ltd., 1999. 21-48. Print.
"Gilgamesh." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Sarah Lawall. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1984. Print.
Greene, Thomas. "The Norms of Epic." Comparative Literature 13.3 (1962): 193-207. Web. 22 Dec 2010.
Kramer, S.N. "The Death of Gilgamesh." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1944): 2-12. Web. 21 Dec 2010.
Tigay, Jeffery. The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. 33-57. Print.
Vulpe, Nicola. "Irony and the Unity of the Gilgamesh Epic." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 53.4 (1994): 275-283. Web. 22 Dec 2010.
West, M.L. "The Rise of the Greek Epic." Journal of Hellenic Studies 108. (1988): 151-172. Web. 22 Dec 2010.
Wolff, Hope Nash. "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Heroic Life." Journal of the American Oriental Society (1969): 392-398. Web. 21 Dec 2010.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on The Myth Of The Epic Of Gilgamesh

- ... Their greatness demands to be exhibited. Holding such prowess back is an injustice to their very freedom and existence (Epic 70). His own people say of Gilgamesh that “His lust leaves no virgin to her lover,” exposing that he feels entitled to enjoy in the pleasures that don 't belong to him; he cannot control impulse (Epic 62). He 's insatiable and taking a lover would never suffice for Gilgamesh. He needs to know he is taking something that would otherwise not be his. He does not want to be loved, he wants to be revered....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Shamash, Enkidu]

Term Papers
1383 words (4 pages)

The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

- ... Enkidu is always seen as less civilized than Gilgamesh since he lived in the woods and was more like a wild animal. However, even the wild Enkidu is disgusted at the stories he hears about Gilgamesh and can tell that despite the fact that Enkidu is seen as a wild animal, Gilgamesh is the one who is uncivilized. It’s not till Enkidu dies that Gilgamesh’s “real” uncivility shines through. Later in the book, Gilgamesh shows his real colors and his uncivilized nature by not bathing, shaving, or changing his clothes....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Enkidu, Humbaba]

Term Papers
820 words (2.3 pages)

Message of Love in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

- The Message of Love in Gilgamesh Gilgamesh is an epic of great love, followed by lingering grief that causes a significant change in character. It is the story of a person who is feared and honored, a person who loves and hates, a person who wins and loses and a person who lives life. Gilgamesh's journey is larger than life, yet ends so commonly with death. Through Gilgamesh, the fate of mankind is revealed, and the inevitable factor of change is expressed. Before the coming of Enkidu, Gilgamesh was a man of great power....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]

Free Essays
806 words (2.3 pages)

The Epic Of Gilgamesh, By William Shakespeare Essay

- ... He gave him a test to grant his wish but failed. He then travels back home to Uruk and realizes that even though he didn’t get what he wanted the city he built will remain forever. However, during the whole journey, Gilgamesh shows his weaknesses such as feeling pain and fear which is more human-like. Also, shows strength because the journey was filled with difficult task but manage to conquer them making Gilgamesh a true epic hero. Gilgamesh returns home empty handed but the people of Uruk admire their king’s accomplishments and the ethical code of the community was created....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, Epic poetry, Enkidu]

Term Papers
1100 words (3.1 pages)

The Epic Of Gilgamesh : The Quest For Immortality Essay

- ... Perhaps it was because if he were to eat the plant he would become a lonely king who just would become more and more saddened by his people whom he loved die over and over again and only he would remain. His close friend, Enkidu, was gone. His father warnied him of the loneliness - perhaps this convinced Gilgamesh of his course of action. Gilgamesh has been through many adventures and he gained wisdom to go along with his god like physical powers. Gilgamesh learns that the greatest type of immortality is the noncorporeal....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia, Ishtar, Life]

Term Papers
823 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about The Epic Of Gilgamesh, By Homer

- ... One such flaw the these two heroes demonstrate is a bloated ego. Glory is a reward often granted to those who go bravely into the face of adversity. To be glorified is not something that should be vilified; however, the active pursuit of it is difficult to define as anything other than selfish and egotistical. When fleeing the cave of Polyphemus, Odysseus felt it necessary to taunt the monster whom he had so narrowly escaped: “Cyclops, if anyone, any mortal man, asks how you got your eye put out, tell him that Odysseus the marauder did it, son of Laertes, whose home is on Ithaca” (437)....   [tags: Odyssey, Epic poetry, Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar]

Term Papers
1630 words (4.7 pages)

The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Iliad Essay

- Traveling the world allows one to open their mind to the wide array of cultures. It allows one to change their views on others, but more importantly, it allows one to grow and become a better person. The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Greek poet Homer’s Iliad express how one important part of a hero’s journey is the transformation that the hero’s character goes through over the course of their story. In the Epic of Gilgamesh and Iliad, the characters Gilgamesh and Achilles demonstrate that family is very important throughout one’s lifetime....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad, Trojan War, Achilles]

Term Papers
1694 words (4.8 pages)

The Transformation of Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

- The Transformation of Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh In many literary works we see significant transitions in the hero's character as the story is developed. This is also true in the Epic of Gilgamesh with its hero, Gilgamesh. In this narrative poem, we get glimpses of who Gilgamesh is and what his purposes and goals are. We see Gilgamesh act in many different ways -- as an overbearing ruler resented by his people, a courageous and strong fighter, a deflated, depressed man, and finally as a man who seems content with what he's accomplished....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]

Free Essays
1766 words (5 pages)

Essay about Change in the Character of Gilgamesh

- There once lived a king, the great king of Uruk in Mesopotamia. This great leader was Gilgamesh. His preserved epic is of great significance to modern day culture. Through Gilgamesh, the fate of mankind is revealed, and the inevitable factor of change is expressed. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is a great love, followed by a lingering grief that cause a significant change in the character of Gilgamesh. Before the coming of Enkidu, Gilgamesh was a man of pure power. A being of which there was no equal match, Gilgamesh boasted upon his overwhelming glory and power....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh]

Term Papers
625 words (1.8 pages)

Death and Immortality in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

- 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]

Term Papers
1379 words (3.9 pages)