Analysis and Comparison of Two Epic Characters Gilgamesh and Enkidu

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Analysis and Comparison of Two Epic Characters Gilgamesh and Enkidu

By | April 2007
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In the epic of Gilgamesh, there are many complex characters. The poet introduced and created Enkidu to serve as a foil and contrast the protagonist of the epic Gilgamesh.

The epic describes Gilgamesh as god and man. He is two-thirds god, and one-third man. Enkidu was an animal and man. He was born as a wild savage. He lives with the animals in the forest. The gods transform him into a human by changing him body and mind. This is the story of their becoming human together. Enkidu is a very loyal man. He shows great loyalty to Gilgamesh. He is brave and smart as well. He helps Gilgamesh fight against the nature and animals. Enkidu gives belief and confidence to Gilgamesh when something is going wrong and an undertaking seems impossible. He motivates and moves Gilgamesh to go further and even further.

The creation of Enkidu in the epic shows the ultimate and almighty power of the gods and the impuissance of human. A hero like him, his birth, purpose, and death are just the will of the god. The character and personality of Gilgamesh change from the beginning through the ending of the epic. Gilgamesh has great self-confidence because of his composition: two-thirds god and one-third man. He believes nothing is impossible as he believes he has supreme powers. He is also arrogant, brave, smart, and passionate. After being friends with Enkidu, he develops a very kindhearted side to his character. They become as close as brothers. Gilgamesh helps and encourages Enkidu when he is in various situations. When the men are fighting Humbaba, Gilgamesh says, ã[you] will surpass all of them... a friend who knows battle understands fighting... stand, friend, we will [go up] together?(tablet IV, column vi, 29, 31, 37). In the course of fighting against Humbaba, the poet emphasizes great bravery and passion on the part of Gilgamesh to the readers. Enkidu knows that Humbaba is not an easy enemy. He is not willing to open out the battle. In contrast, Gilgamesh persuades and...
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