Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus

Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus


Gilgamesh and Odysseus are two legends from two diverse periods that were both looking for the meaning of life. Gilgamesh was extremely popular, and it was exceptionally important to the historians of Mesopotamian cultural practices in light of the fact that it uncovers much about the religious world, for example, their attitude towards the divine beings, how a legend was characterized and respected, sees about death and fellowship. Odyssey was likewise exceptionally prevalent in its time. It was situated in ancient Greece wherein its way of life; mythology was the heart of ordinary life. The Greek Culture swung to mythology to clarify distinctive phenomena for which they had no investigative clarification and this was noticeable in the epic the Odyssey. According to Mancini (2008) Odyssey is one of the greatest stories or myths among the Greek people. It is reach of their culture and history. This essay tries to establish the extent to which the Greek and Mesopotamian cultures and beliefs have influenced the world as we know it today.

Gilgamesh and Odysseus were both respected in their time for the fact that they possessed extraordinary strength. They lived beyond human abilities and power. Both of the legends possessed exceptional mental, physical, and extreme strength while g of overcoming extraordinary enemies and obstacles. Odysseus and Gilgamesh are both men who have great qualities, one with physical (Gilgamesh), while the other one has been conceded mental quality. Now and again there were cautious in the choices they made with the great force they had, and at different times they were reckless in their decision. According to Davis (2014), Gilgamesh decides to go to the Forest of Cedars despite the warning from Enkidu concerning Humbaba, the monster found in the forest. Gilgamesh and Enkidu go to the forest and meet Humbaba. They are threatening, but Gilgamesh gets his courage and goes into war with the monster. With the help of Shamash who sends 13 winds to bind Humbaba, Gilgamesh is able to overcome the monster and captures it.

The two characters possess different abilities, and this is an illustration of the society they lived in. Among the Mesopotamian where Gilgamesh came from, believed more on physical abilities and strength. They were involved in battles and wars with other communities and societies. On the other hand, the Greek are known to be great scholars and explorers. This is a representation of great mental ability. This was the case with Odysseus, who had great mental ability. According to Reynolds & Wilson (2013), some of the world’s best philosophers, scholars and even scientists were from Greece as they incorporated learning and studying as part of their culture. 

Gilgamesh and Odysseus both recognize supernatural beings as source of their power. Gilgamesh on his part, felt as being superior to other people considering the fact that he was two-thirds god. His own mother was actually a goddess (Ninsun). This explained the great physical strength he had. According to Louden (2011) just like Odysseus who had Asthenia as the mentor god, we see Gilgamesh depending on Shamash in order to overcome Humbaba the monster when he goes to the Forest of Cedar. Among the Mesopotamian cultures as well as the Greek people, people depended on gods to strengthen them during difficulties. The trend goes on till today as some people from these areas believe in the supernatural power to help them. 

The beliefs of the two societies influenced the whole world over time. During the classical antiquity, the Greek people contributed majorly in the writing of the New Testament, which was later to be spread out to the rest of the world. Their beliefs in supernatural beings shaped their social and economic activities as they would involve their gods. McNamara (2011) says that the Greek people influenced in so many ways the writing of the New Testament. The Greek language and literature styles were incorporated within the New Testament. 

Harris (2004) says that the ancient Greek culture prevailed during the antiquity as the basis of philosophy, art, society and also educational standards. The ideals were well preserved, imitated and later spread all over Europe and the rest of the world by the Romans. Later during the Renaissance, scholars from Italy and major parts of Europe started studying and reviewing the Ancient Greek words that were based on moths, science and philosophy. According to Enkidu (2014), the Greek culture and ancient history became the centre stage of the renaissance with great scholars emerging because of studying the ancient Greek culture. 

In conclusion, we see how the stories of Gilgamesh and Odysseus were not just a myth but a recount of two very powerful cultures that influenced the world today. The two cultures have influenced the way people reason and perceive different issues related to religion and society as a whole. The two characters are faced with the same problems that people face today. People work hard to find meaning in their lives. Gilgamesh is faced with the same thing, especially after the death of Enkidu. He embarks on a journey to find the meaning of life and death. 


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