Similarly, Gilgamesh is also given a grand introduction. He is described as, "the strongest one of all, the perfect, the terror" (Ferry, 4). However, the overall view of Gilgamesh is not as honorable as Beowulf. The people of Uruk are lamenting to the god Aruru: (Ferry, 5) "Neither the father's son nor the wife of the noble
is safe in Uruk; neither the mother's daughter nor the warrior's bride is safe. The old men say: Is this the shepherd of the people? Is this
the wise shepherd, the protector of the people?
There is no withstanding the desire of the Wild Ox."
This shows that even though Gilgamesh is supposed to be the "perfect," he is far from it. Unlike the praise and admiration for Beowulf, Gilgamesh's character is being questioned right from the beginning of the text. Is this the classification of a great hero? Does the reader expect great things from Gilgamesh? Not really. This classification of Gilgamesh enables the reader to see that he is flawed and will more than likely experience later difficulties.
Courage is a major component of the hero's artillery. Up to his death, Beowulf's courage was boundless. He competed with Breca in a swimming match on the open seas; he fought Grendel, Grendel's mother, and finally, the dragon that caused his death. In each situation, Beowulf displayed strength, wisdom, and faith. In all of his expeditions, he never really showed resistance. It can be argued that he was reluctant in the last battle with the dragon but this is to be expected since he was considerably older. In the fight with Grendel, Beowulf used his arm strength to accomplish his task. He was able to rip off Grendel's shoulder and arm: "The monster's whole body was in pain; a tremendous wound
appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split and the bone lappings burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning; Grendel was driven under the fen banks, fatally hurt, to his desolate lair" (Heaney, 22)
One cannot help feeling sorry for Grendel. However, it is the hero's duty to carry out his task and...