The Self-Bound Journeys
As the well known heroes’ tales end, crossing barren seas and going through mountains, one begins to compare Odysseus’s epic journey to Gilgamesh’s epic journey. Both stories are enticing and present a numerous amount of themes, some similar, some different. Both characters evolve; it is clear that the characters known at the beginning of the book have changed. Although both journeys involve growth as leaders, Odysseus is at the mercy of the gods, monsters, and powerful people and realizes his place and becomes humbled, while Gilgamesh the demigod becomes arrogant and selfish. When Odysseus is first mentioned (Odyssey Pp. 83), very little leadership is shown. He is portrayed as helpless; the quote “he saw nothing of the great Odysseus,” and throughout books four through eight, his constant complaining shows this. Similarly Gilgamesh’s leadership is questioned in a formula, “Is this the shepherd of the people?” (G,pp 4) However when both characters have their “Aha” moments, readers start to see the characters develop, and blossom into confident, genuine people. Steadily, Odysseus grows more and more. The first time this is present is when Odysseus saves his men from the Lotus flowers, he manages to save all of his men and escape the mind controlling island (O Book 9). This shows his fatherly sense of protection which is vital to being a leader. Another time we see Odysseus grow as a leader is when he manages to lead his men out of Polyphemos’s cave (O book 9). Odysseus’s strength and cleverness is shown, which makes him a noble leader. The single time Odysseus grew the most leadership wise, was when he went back to Circe’s island to give Elpenor a proper funeral (O,Book 10). This shows Odysseus’s humaneness and allows the reader to see that Odysseus would do anything for his men. Throughout these experiences it is clear that Odysseus is no longer passive towards his crew, he is now assertive, and direct to his crew. Gilgamesh grew as a...
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