The Successful Hero on a Path to Failure
What is a hero? Is a hero is a great individual with powers or qualities that
separate him from the rest of the society or world for that matter. In a sense, perhaps, I
think a hero can be much more than just having these particular qualities. In my opinion, a
hero is someone that also commands great respect. There must also have been a great
event or deed for someone to be deemed a hero.
In the heroic tale of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh himself is a hero. He has the qualities
required for being a hero, but he is lacking. He fails to exhibit self restraint and wise
decision making. That doesn't necessarily mean that a hero must be perfect in order to be
one. A hero is supposed to make mistakes and have downfalls. Heroism is a quality that
is present in every human being. It is a part of humanity. It is displayed more
prominently in a few such as Gilgamesh. A hero still remains human though and can never
Society in Gilgamesh's culture viewed their king as the ultimate warrior and
leader. The city was the most important part of life in the times of Gilgamesh. A ziggurat
was present in the city representing religious life. The gods resided in the temples of the
city. Society relied upon the presence of gods to determine how well the city would last
and prosper. The city was a place of patriotism and nationalism. Elaborate rituals were
commonplace. Unlike that of the culture described in the Bible, sexuality is part of the
worship of gods. Gilgamesh is a key factor in this way of life for the city of Uruk. He is
the priest king. His role in the city is important because he is depended upon by all of the
residents of his city. They look to him for strength, spirit, and guidance. Gilgamesh is
ideal to the people because he serves the purposes a priest king is expected to do in order
to keep society thriving. He wins wars and has little fear. It is similar to politics. If the
economy is thriving, then the people say the president is doing a good job. If the country
is in a state of depression, the president will most likely not win the reelection. The people
of this city didn't care much that he had ill qualities. It was more important to see the
ones that kept the city moving and expanding.
From the point of view of certain gods, however, Gilgamesh made too many
mistakes. Gilgamesh himself was part god, but he still was part human and nothing could
change that about Gilgamesh. The story of Gilgamesh is an epic tale that revolves around
the life of a hero. This is the first issue. Gilgamesh doesn't think of himself as a mortal
man. He begins to question death in Tablet IX after the death of his companion Enkidu.
Gilgamesh wandered in the wilderness grieving over the death of Enkidu and
weeping saying: "Enkidu has died. Must I die too? Must Gilgamesh be like that?"
Gilgamesh felt the fear of it in his belly. He said to...