Similarities between Gilgamesh and Rama: Text and Context The stories of Gilgamesh and Rama have certain sameness. These similarities can be observed in the narratives embedded in the epics of Gilgamesh and Rama. Further, their sameness transcends beyond the text itself…
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First, Gilgamesh is a sacred king in the ancient Babylonian kingdom who greatly possesses the trait of “two-thirds divine” (Mitchell 10). By virtue of his god-like character, the Babylonian people fear and follow the absolute monarchy practiced by Gilgamesh, the demigod of the bygone civilization. Like Gilgamesh, Rama is a divine king in the age-old India who greatly ruled his devoted subjects with “universal or social conscience” (qtd. in Leeming, Madden, and Marlan 803). Second, Gilgamesh and Rama have sameness with respect to their journeys in finding their missions in life and/or love. On the one hand, Gilgamesh travels to varied and tortuous places in order to find the person who “can tell him how to escape death” (Mitchell 1). After his friend’s death, Gilgamesh journeys into the terra incognita which he, consequently, “suffered all and accomplished all” (qtd. in Mitchell 9). On the other hand, Rama travels to the land of his mortal enemy in order to rescue his beloved Sita. On this way, Rama constantly remembers in the need to avoid the “sense enemies’ lust, ire and greed” (Das 69). And third, both epic heroes greatly share tragedy (Gupta 23). The tragedy of Gilgamesh lies in his failure to attain immortality while Rama’s tragedy lies in the unfaithfulness of his beloved. Both stories of Gilgamesh and Rama are, by and large, shaped by their cultures and societies.
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614). These universal issues of human life are beautifully presented in the epic through the transformations of its main characters: Gilgamesh and Enkidu, who could be understood symbolizing the contradictions of life from which the meaning of life is realized.
The Epic Hero is larger than life. He embodies mythic traits beyond that of an ordinary man: deeper flaws and greater strengths, tragic losses and valiant triumphs. The civilization shapes the notions of the Epic Hero, but certain constants persist. He is brave, powerful, and in constant contact with the supernatural world, unhindered by the constraints of true mortality.
In particular, there is a contrast on the nature of the main character of each story, the reasons why the main characters were placed in suffering, and also the main characters’ response toward the times of suffering. Beforehand, it should be remembered that the stories of Job and Gilgamesh were made not far apart from each other with regards to time and civilization.
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