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What does Gilgamesh have in common with such heroes as Achilles and Agamenon In what ways is he different - Term Paper Example

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Epic poems are long poems that celebrate the deeds of heroes of legendary Stature. Gilgamesh, Achilles and Agamemnon are epic characters. Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk “is strong to perfection, son of august cow Rimat Ninsun; Gilgamesh is awesome to perfection.” …
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What does Gilgamesh have in common with such heroes as Achilles and Agamenon In what ways is he different
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Download file to see previous pages Epic poems are long poems that celebrate the deeds of heroes of legendary Stature. Gilgamesh, Achilles and Agamemnon are epic characters. Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk “is strong to perfection, son of august cow Rimat Ninsun; Gilgamesh is awesome to perfection.” Achilles and Agamemnon are also super human characters. Their strength and will power are above that of the normal mortals. Achilles was seen as the swiftest of Greek warriors .The strongest and bravest, he was very handsome too. During the Trojan War, Agamemnon became the commander in chief of the Greek army. He led hundred ships from Mycenae and Corinth to Troy Conceiving life as a journey from birth to death is an Epic concept. Thus every epic poem deals with tiresome quests and difficult journeys of the protagonist. He meets with all sorts of hurdles during the journey. The Epic of Gilgamesh has two journeys – One from the wilderness into the civilization and the other from the evils of civilization to the wisdom of the wilderness. Both Achilles and Agamemnon journey to Troy to fight the war. Agamemnon journeys back home too. They face a lot of hazards during these journeys. Gigamesh and Achilles: Comparing these two epic heroes, Gilgamesh seems to be a more balanced character than Achilles. Though a sadist to begin with, later he faces the challenges of his journey of life wisely and returns as a wiser man. Achilles was an angry warrior, who cared less for the lives of others in the battle field. He wanted glory and great honor for himself. He received Briseis, the princess of Lyrnessus as a gift of war when he lead the attack on that city and conquered it. This gift was a great pride of honor for him. And he was never ready to sacrifice that gift. The conflict between him and Agamemnon starts when Agamemnon takes her from him; he gets angry enough and tries to kill Agamemnon. His attempt to kill Agamemnon is prevented by Gods. When he fails to get back his gift of war, he retreats from the war altogether. All the treasures and women that Agamemnon offered him as compensation could not make him change his decision. And this was a major set back for the Greeks. They had to continue the war with out the best of the warriors. He returns to the battle only after the death of his companion in the war. Thus Achilles was never a team man. Though his achievements in the war were commendable his motives were very much self- centered. Gilgamesh, as a king used to be sadistic to his people. Gods decide to create an equal to Gilgamesh so that he will get distracted from his sadistic attitudes and activities. This alter ego of Gilgamesh is Enkidu, a primitive man. He travels from the forest to Uruk and challenges Gilgamesh. But after a fierce war they become friends. The second journey of the epic is undertaken by Gilgamesh and Enkidu together into the cedar forest to kill the evil monster called Humbaba. During this adventurous journey Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh continues his journey deep into the forest and to the end of the earth alone, facing all sorts of hazards. Thus Gilgamesh was loyal to his friend Enkidu and this character trait is just contradictory to that of Achilles. Gilgamesh finally return as a good king sympathetic to his people. One similarity between the two is their quest for immortality. Achilles got it with out demanding. His mother Thetis tried to make him immortal. According to one version of the story she anointed her son in ambrosia and put him in fire, burning away his mortal body. Another account is that she dipped him in the underworld sea of Styx. She was holding his feet, thus making his heels vulnerable. Hence came into being the term “Achilles heel”. Gilgamesh was “The King who wanted to live for ever and who refused to die” as the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano points out (Mirrors, PP13.) For attaining immortality Utnapishtim, a unique immortal himself, asks Gilgamesh to keep awake for six days and seven nights. But he fails this test. Then he was shown the way to get a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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