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A Hero In The Epic Of Gilgamesh And The Novel Monkey

2273 words - 10 pages

Hero is a word that is commonplace in our society. We seem to always be able to turn on the latest news story and find the newest local man who saved that beautiful kitten from that building that was burning down. When we say hero a vast array of different definitions come to people’s minds. Our definition of hero in our world is most definitely not a constant. In the Epic of Gilgamesh and the novel Monkey many would consider the main characters and their strongest companions nothing close to heroes but rather tyrants. I have to say that these people have defined hero too narrowly, and I must prove them of their folly. Monkey and Gilgamesh, despite the many sins they commit, highlight ...view middle of the document...

They saw the same developers as evil. The argument that is surely to be made though is that, well of course there will always be disagreements it should simply be judged by majority rules. This is not applicable as our views on good and evil are not constant. Just a few hundred years ago war was viewed as positive as it promoted nationalism and possibly strengthened the country. Those who fought were thought of as high class and warriors. Now all war is seen as evil and those who promote it are truly evil and looked down upon. We do not know what we want in our society. This causes a problem as someone could commit the exact same action but in a different time period and one person could be seen as good and the other seen as evil. Heroism is a constant it cannot change, however our perception is constantly changing. This also does not even address the paradox that evil deeds are actually intrinsic to the well-being of society. Therefore, since we cannot clearly define good and evil we cannot clearly define a hero by these standards. What we can measure and is clearly defined is a great feat. This can be seen by looking at the rest of the population and seeing an action that is not achieved or accomplished by many. Then the majority of the general public needs to extol this action. This is to separate simply unique abilities from achievements that inspire the public. A hero will invigorate the common masses to make an accomplishment of their own as not to feel so insignificant when compared to the hero. There are attributes that are preferred, but not required for heroism. For example, equanimity in any situation especially instances that would give the average person great trepidation. Sacrificing oneself for another allows someone’s compassion and kindness towards others to be their last defining moment. Both of these are not necessary to be a hero, but can definitely enhance the status of a being’s public heroic perception. A hero is defined as someone who achieves tremendous feats that inspire the general public to aspire to personal greatness.
The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of the sovereign of the Babylonian city of Uruk, Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh perceived himself as the greatest being to ever walk the earth. All the people of Uruk were blessed to even look upon him. He thought of himself as a god, and the people did as well. This is proven with this section of the book “Gilgamesh the tall, magnificent and terrible, who opened passes in the mountains, who dug wells on the slopes of the uplands, and crossed the ocean, the wide sea to the sunrise;” (2). Gilgamesh was definitely looked up to by his people. They obeyed his every command no matter how degrading it may be. The city of Uruk paid heed to him with good reason though. Gilgamesh committed incredible actions that make him clearly stand out among the average man. He was well known among the gods who spoke of him frequently. He would even speak to them...

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