Epic Identity Quests
An analysis of Arjuna and Odysseus, heroes of "The Bhagavad-Gita" and "The Odyssey," who, although from vastly different cultures, reveal through their heroic roles the quest of all human beings for identity.
# 6450 | 1,025 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2002 |
Published on Feb 08, 2003 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , Literature (Poetry) , Literature (World) , English (Comparison)
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Two epic heroes of vastly different cultures search for identity, representing all human kind. In the similarly chaotic worlds Arjuna, hero of "The Bhagavad-Gita", and Odysseus, hero of "The Odyssey", learn about themselves in depth and come to terms with death, war and the afterlife, revealing that heroism in these two worlds is quite similar. This paper examines the major differences in their responses to the challenges of their respective quests, their relationship to their gods.
From the Paper:"Two ancient epic poems, The Bhagavad-Gita and The Odyssey, from vastly different cultures, reveal the ongoing search of the human race to understand the significance of the self and humanity's role in a world it cannot comprehend. In both these epics the quest for the individual human's sense of self is presented in the form of the hero metaphor in which a larger than life figure takes on the symbolic search for identity. Arjuna and Odysseus, the heroes of the two epics, both strive to bring order to the everyday chaos of the human world. In many ways the quests are similar. Central to both epics is the way their heroes struggle to discover what their relationship to the gods has to do with their identity. The major difference between Odysseus and Arjuna in the quest for identity, arises from their contrasting cultural conceptions of the gods, those superhuman forces, and how they influence, control, or guide mortal men."
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