Language Arts 12
29 September 2012
Fear Doesn’t Stop a Hero
Bill Cosby once said that “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater that your fear of failure.” In the narrative poem, Gilgamesh retold by Herbert Mason the main character Gilgamesh decides to go on this quest to defeat the mighty Humbaba. He wants the glory and fame that will come after slaying the guardian of the forest. However brave he thinks he is, Gilgamesh gets stricken by fear multiple times along his venture into the forest. But his determination to succeed outweighs his fear of failure and death. So in this narrative poem the reader learns that even the courageous king of Uruk, who is two-thirds god, is still susceptible to fear, but his ability to overcome that fear is what makes him a hero. Throughout this poem we see Gilgamesh being tormented by fear when they approach the gates to the forest, the night before Gilgamesh faces Humbaba, and even during the battle with the beast.
The reader first gets foretaste of Gilgamesh’s fear when Enkidu and he approach the gates to the forest. “The two mov[e] slowly toward the gate” because Gilgamesh is tentative and starting to fear what is ahead (Mason 65). The courageous and handsome king fears the unknown of not only what is in the forest, but also the guardian of the forest. “Suddenly…Gilgamesh…was afraid” for deeper reasons than just the fear of the unknown ( Mason 63). Gilgamesh was afraid that of the disappointment that would sweep his kingdom if his quest was a failure. What kind of king and warrior would he be if he could not defeat a simple slave to the gods? What kind of hope would that leave to the children of Uruk? His fear of failure is not as great as his desire to defeat Humbaba. So despite all that could go wrong and all the adversity that he faced, Gilgamesh still advances into the forest. His advancements into the forest, is the readers first glance at Gilgamesh’s...