September 23, 2017
Professor Eric Sterling
Survey of Lit Western World
8. Heroism in Gilgamesh and Oedipus the King
A proper king should bestow upon his people the qualities of loyalty, protection, and fairness. Qualities as such are rare amongst our recently read works, but are essential to be considered heroes and kings. Gilgamesh took advantage of his people’s brides on the night of their wedding, hence making him a foolish ruler. Oedipus, helps his people handle their issues. Between the two, Oedipus is the best man for the job concerning kings and heroes. Despite the two opposites in their ruling capabilities, Oedipus and Gilgamesh are similar with outstanding heroism.
The character of Gilgamesh evolves through story. His flaws as a leader are shown in the beginning of the story. Gilgamesh takes advantage of his people by having his way with virgin girls of his kingdom on their wedding nights. The total abuse of power and poor ruling is a direct reason of how is heroism begins. His soon best friend, Enkidu, is sent to challenge him before he becomes involved with another man’s wife. After fighting, Gilgamesh starts his transition from tyrant to a heroic companion.
Gilgamesh, has received the short end of the stick as the leader. Before his meeting with, Enkidu, elders question his leadership saying, “is this the king, the Shepard of his people?” His people prayed for the creation of Enkidu to meet his match. It appears his poor ruling was like an unchallenged playground bully. All that is necessary is companionship to cure his childish “because I can” attitude.
Gilgamesh has something to do now other than terrorize his people. He and Enkidu set out to kill Humbaba. No matter how worthless it was to kill Humbaba, the event Is a direct reason as to why Gilgamesh heroism began to expand. Enkidu died from an injury that sustained in battle with the Bull of heaven that was tasked to punish both men for killing. His death surprised Gilgamesh bringing a different side of him out. The humble, affectionate, caring, and sorrowful side of Gilgamesh that never existed before meeting Enkidu.
Gilgamesh remains being a sad excuse of a leader and decided to search on ways to overcome his fear, death. Gilgamesh s heroic in this search because he gets a taste of meekness and humility. Only one person had ever defeated death, and Gilgamesh wasn’t that person. His search made him more knowledgeable, it tested him, ending in failure. A issue that overtook Gilgamesh for the first time. He soon realized that he was already in power, and overpowering was not necessary nor beneficial. Through his humbling experience and now...