Gilgamesh

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By standard would you use to classify someone an epic hero? Some characteristics that are clearly expressed by the hero Gilgamesh include a mixed divine and human birth and the circumstance of the divine world interfering within the human world. Other characteristics are not blatantly expressed by Gilgamesh, those may include him being superhuman or super natural compared to the ordinary man. For my paper, I will investigate the characteristics an epic hero should obtain and whether or not I find Gilgamesh to be a true hero.

In this tale we have the main character, Gilgamesh, who is obviously a longer than life male in history, which is obvious just from me having knowledge about this man who lived in 2700 B.C.E. Furthermore, it is said that he is 2/3 god and 1/3 human, was born from the goddess Ninsun. In the story, Gilgamesh and brother Enkidu receive a quest to liberate Cedar Forest from Humbaba, and when Gilgamesh defeats him the goddess Ishtar confronts Gilgamesh in hopes of becoming his wife. This is a perfect example of the divine world interfering with the human world. When she is rejected, she is angered and sends a bull after him, which is also killed by the brothers. At this time the gods decide that Enkidu must die, to avenge the deaths of the two kills. The divine world is very active in this story, in situations they should not be influencing, and that satisfies a big part of labeling this story as an epic. Also, this shows the degree of difficulty Gilgamesh must endure, which will show him as a more important, hero like character.

From my personal experience, heroes should express more glorious attributes and this is why I am skeptical to say that Gilgamesh was a hero for his time. A specific characteristic is that an epic hero may be “braver, stronger, smarter, or cleverer than the ordinary human being” (Bailey 1). I do not believe that Gilgamesh accomplishes anything a normal man could not do, yes he wins battles but not with wit or any...
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