Different Heroic Ideals
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This paper analyzes the heroes of King Gilgamesh from an unknown author's poem "Gilgamesh" and Odysseus from Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey". The paper examines how both of the men are heroes, but with very different ideals. Given these differences, the paper attempts to compare the characters as men, leaders and wanderers, rather than as heroes. The paper first discusses how both men take epic, life-changing journeys; but while the journey itself is similar for both men, the purposes they serve are very different. Next, the paper studies similarities between the two, such as the authors' early description of the character as heroic, their strength of character to reject women who are not right for them, their industriousness and their morality. The paper concludes with another discussion of the differences between the two characters, focusing on their maturation, in particular the fact that Odysseus is a father.
From the Paper:"First, both men complete difficult journeys throughout their stories. Odysseus takes twenty years to make it home to his wife and family, while Gilgamesh goes on a quest to seek life forever after he loses his friend Enkidu. Their journeys are similar, but they serve very different purposes. Odysseus' journey's ultimate purpose is to return home and reunite with his family, who he loves above all else. His reason for his journey is heroic but also filled with passion and deep love. Gilgamesh's journey is based on his own needs and wants, rather than those of family or loved ones. Grieving after the death of his best friend, he begins a search for everlasting life. In the end, he finds himself instead, and finds happiness in understanding himself, but his journey is far more selfish than Odysseus' journey, and has very different goals. This helps point out a major difference in the two heroic characters - their motivation. Odysseus is heroic in his journey - he saves his men, kills and defeats monsters and evil gods and goddesses, and always has his eye on his family and returning home. He is strong, but he is also motivated, and this adds to his heroism and his high ideals. Gilgamesh is motivated by his own desires, and so his heroism is self-motivated, rather than motivated by others. He is selfish and willful, and sometimes seems like a child when compared to Odysseus."
Cite this Comparison Essay:
Different Heroic Ideals (2006, July 27) Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/different-heroic-ideals-68004/
"Different Heroic Ideals" 27 July 2006. Web. 24 April. 2014. <http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/different-heroic-ideals-68004/>