Comparing The Bhagavad Gita And The Epic Of Gilgamesh

1682 words - 7 pages

Merriam- Webster online dictionary defines an epic hero as, “ A grand and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or effected by grand events.” The same dictionary also defines an epic poem as, “a story told about a hero or exciting events.” The Epic of Gilgamesh is often considered the oldest story on earth; which would make Gilgamesh, the story’s controversial main character, and the world’s oldest epic hero. This epic set a precedent for all epics to follow; it displayed most of the traits that society commonly perceives an epic hero and epic poem should have. The Epic of Gilgamesh exhibits tendencies of an epic poem through its inclusion of an epic hero, ...view middle of the document...

This King of Uruk is two-thirds god, and one-third human. The unknown writer of The Epic of Gilgamesh also proclaims additional phrases and adjectives such as, “ bold “, “ superb “,” the people shepherd “, “ perfection in height “, and “ ideally handsome”(pg. 39). These traits further support Gilgamesh being an epic hero by solidifying his near perfection. A strong emphasis should be placed on the word “ near “ in the last sentence; every epic hero has a tragic flaw. Gilgamesh’s was his quest for immortality, which I will proceed to dissect latter portions of the paper. Furthermore, the inclusion of many gods and goddesses is also a giveaway of The Epic of Gilgamesh being an epic poem.
If every story must have an epic hero, The Bhagavad-Gita would be automatically eliminated from contention. Ajuana does not display enough classic traits of an epic hero to support him being one. Ajuana at best is a dynamic character that has warrior ability superior to others.
Over the course of the story, an abundance of different gods are mentioned or play major roles. Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s beastly companion, was created by Aruru, the goddess of birth. According to the footnotes, “ Shamash was the god of the sun, and the oracle…” (pg. 43). Other gods and goddesses include but are not limited to: Enlil, the supreme god on earth, Uptanpishtu, immortal survivor of the great flood, and Ishtar, the goddess of fertility. Non-mortal beings serve a, multitude of purposes in this story. They range from antagonists to advice givers, to simply figure heads. What is undeniable to anyone whom reads this epic is the extensive role of gods. The last element that proves The Epic of Gilgamesh is indeed an epic is the vast fluctuation of the setting.
The only God that is shown in “The Bhagavad-Gita” is Lord Khrsna. Khrsna goes from being Ajuana’s best friend to being his spiritual mentor. Much like gods in other stories, Khrsa advises. This is one of the few points that those whom argue this story being epic poems can make. However, Khrsa is the only God in this story. Epic poems usually have many different gods.
Many epics include extended quests. These quests usually stretch over vast expanses of land, in an array of different settings. The Epic of Gilgamesh did just that. The story starts in the city setting of Uruk, the epic hero’s kingdom in Mesopotamia. With the arrival of Enkidu, the story begins to shift to more of a forested setting. Post-Enkidu, Gilgamesh journey to Utanpistu and immortality takes him across one the regions seas. The story’s inclusion of a city setting, a rural setting, and lastly the almighty seas, adds a diversified aspect that is a typical aspect of an epic.
The main setting for “The Bhagavad-Gita” is the battlefield. It does not stray from this. An addition setting could be his thoughts, considering we are taken on a “ journey” through them. However, even considering this, the settings do not fit the prototypical variance...

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