Odysseus vs. Gilgamesh Essay

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Pages: 6

The epic poems The Odyssey, written by Homer, and Gilgamesh, translated by David Ferry, feature the struggles and triumphs of two epic heroes, Odysseus and Gilgamesh. Epic heroes exemplify six common traits. They are all strong fighters, complete with physical beauty and intimidation. The epic hero is dangerous yet protects ordinary people. There is always an encounter with death and the cosmos. They are superhuman, but they are not supernatural, although they come in contact with the supernatural. There are struggles with overwhelming difficulties while on a quest for self-discovery or some sort of goal, however all ordeals are overcome by quick intellect. Despite all the difficulties and obstacles, epic heroes always return from an …show more content…
Throughout this journey, one can see how Odysseus is the definition of a true epic hero. Besides the typical traits of an epic hero, Odysseus can exhibit humility, courage, faithfulness, and brave leadership. Odysseus's goal of his journey is for a homecoming. He wishes to return home to his wife Penelope and his home back in Ithaca. He does not seek any other ultimate goal. This is where the virtue of humility and faithfulness is shown. One particular example is while Odysseus is trapped on Calypso's island. He is promised immortality and a lustrous life if he were to stay with Calypso on her island. However Odysseus abandons such an idea and decides to build a raft on his own and return to his home. He remains humble doesn't desire to be godlike. Although Calypso and Odysseus have intimate relations with one another, it is not Odysseus's free choice. He is forced to be intimate with the goddess. Even if he is physically betraying Penelope, it is against his will and he is mentally faithful to her. Odysseus is shown as a brave leader through out his entire journey. He clearly instructs and protects his men in adverse obstacles and remains calm. When traveling the sea and passing the Sirens, he instructs his men to put bee-wax in their ears so they may not be affected by the Siren's song. He and his men safely navigate through. Gilgamesh has the same aspects of an epic hero, however we see these traits in a different way. Gilgamesh is the