Gilgamesh And Odysseus Essay

2541 words - 11 pages

Gilgamesh and Odysseus were two heroes from two completely different time periods that were both in search of the meaning of life, or what could be done in a lifetime. Gilgamesh and the Odyssey are both categorized as hero myths. This is because both hero's go through growth and change throughout out their conquests. The epics that the two characters are featured in Gilgamesh, was developed from early Mesopotamia and the Odyssey in early Greece. Gilgamesh was a very popular and it was very valuable to the historian of Mesopotamian culture because it reveals much about the religious world, such as their attitudes toward the gods, how a hero was defined and regarded, views about death and ...view middle of the document...

Gilgamesh is has a different mindset from Odysseus, he is much more harsh in every aspect of the word. “Gilgamesh’s constantly pessimistic, and only partially resigned attitude to life and the world. This attitude is a consequence off the Mesopotamian psychology, and of those overtones of anxiety which Frankfort described as being due to a haunting fear that the unaccountable and turbulent powers may at any time bring disaster to human society.” (Gresseth3) Even though Odysseus and Gilgamesh possess great importance to the realities in which they exist, Gilgamesh’s impact on his reality is much more negative than Odysseus’s. Odysseus has a more positive attitude towards life and along his journey it is shown. He can control his emotions much more than Gilgamesh can, for example when he arrive at a town he tells the people that he is the great Odysseus, and when they do not believe him he does not lose his mind instead he keep his composure and tells a story only the Odysseus would know. He proves his self to the people of the town by telling the story, which is something Gilgamesh would not do because of his oversized ego resulting from being two-thirds god.
Another difference between Odysseus and Gilgamesh is that Gilgamesh does not succeed at becoming immortal he fails at this task unlike Odysseus. “Not only does our hero fail to gain the magic gif of immortality on some distant island but he fails to even retain hold of the Plant of Youth, and that too when he is all but on his front doorstep.” (Gresseth6)Odysseus on the other hand is given immortality in a sense, such as when the goddess Ino saves Odysseus against the sea storm created by Poseidon. In a sense Gilgamesh does fall at achieve his goal but he is successful in traveling across the sea. Gilgamesh is also successful when he and Enkidu travel to the forbidden cedar forest. His goal there is to basically prove that he is better than any mortal man. He challenges the gods and defeats the forest guardian Humbaba so that he may be able to steal the forbidden tree. But the monster was a guardian and even as it was monstrous, it served a useful purpose. But before they could finally kill it, Gilgamesh and Enkidu argue and hesitate until Gilgamesh finally gives in, but not before the monster utters a curse for both of them. It is a journey to prove his ego and his greatness, which is different than Odysseus.
Odysseus is humble. He has the superhuman strength and he knows he is better than any mortal man, however he does not use his knowledge of this for a selfish goal. Rather, he want to remain faithful to his wife. He does all he can to return home his wife that he dearly loves with all of his heroic heart. Even after his is offered a life full of lust and immortality, he denies it for his true and unconditional love for Penelope. Therefore he does have success in getting back to Penelope and freeing her and their servants. “The first reference to Odysseus’ location begins with...

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