Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Character Comparison
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There are many similarities between Gilgamesh, the legendary Babylonian king, and Odysseus, the Greek warrior famous for his cunning and fortitude. The paper shows that both characters' stories are told in poetic epics ("The Epic of Gilgamesh" by an anonymous author and ancient Greek writer, Homer's "The Odyssey"). The paper shows how both characters are engaged in quests - Gilgamesh, who is partially divine, does not wish to die and searches for a way to achieve immortality, whilst Odysseus is fully human and even rejects an offer of immortality in order to continue his struggle to return home after the end of the Trojan war. Both epics also feature the interference of the gods who encourage, assist, or thwart the two heroes and debate among themselves about the courses they should take in regard to the relatively insignificant human beings. The paper shows that the endings of the two epics are different--as might be expected from the differences in the two characters' goals. However, the basic themes of the endings have much more in common than might be expected. Gilgamesh is eventually convinced that immortality is something reserved for the gods. His partially mortal parentage means that he must die and that he should, therefore, take pleasure and pride in what is best about life rather than worrying about living forever. The paper shows that Odysseus is also intent on restoring order by returning home and in doing so, he makes the best of life, accepting fate and eventual death.
From the Paper:"The episodes involving the offers of the goddesses also provide similarities and differences. In the case of Gilgamesh Ishtar "looked with longing" on his beauty and begged him to be her "bridegroom" (6.6-7). But Gilgamesh boldly rejected her, despite the list of beautiful things that she promised him, because he was aware of the sad histories of all the men and animals that she had taken for her lovers in the past. In the case of Calypso and Odysseus, however, the goddess is not accused of falseness and her offers of everything wonderful are quite serious. She does indeed want Odysseus to remain with her forever and makes the offer of immortality. He would be ageless and would "preside in our house with me / and be immortal"."
Cite this Comparison Essay:
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Character Comparison (2003, June 12) Retrieved December 11, 2013, from http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/gilgamesh-and-odysseus-character-comparison-27600/
"Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Character Comparison" 12 June 2003. Web. 11 December. 2013. <http://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/gilgamesh-and-odysseus-character-comparison-27600/>