Epic poetry is lengthy poems that tell a story, usually about a character whose actions prove to be in favor of heroism. The idea behind the story typically deals in the traditions whether it is mythical or historical of a culture or nation.
Mesopotamian mythology, an ancient civilization whose history goes back before the famous Greek civilization period, has a tale of a king of Uruk named Gilgamesh, whose actions lead his people to dislike him. Through actions that spit on the gods, he experiences the death of someone close. The death then sets Gilgamesh to pursue immortality to avoid the fate of his friend. In the end, the king‘s chance at immortality slips away in his moment of weakness.
In Greek mythology there is a tale of another king named Odysseus, who after a major war, sets out to return home. While on his journey he encounters situations which prolong his effort to get home. He and his shipmen must face encounters from Cyclops to Siren to even Poseidon the sea god himself! When he finally reaches home he now must face suitors who have been trying to claim Odysseus’ kingdom by marrying his wife.
Although Gilgamesh and Odysseus are both heroes in ancient literature, they use different methods to overcome their problems. The differences are only to the extent of their problem solving but extend to their character traits, their reasoning, special abilities, and even character development.
In the tale of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is an overly confident character. Because he is two-thirds god and one-third human he feels as though he is superior to others. As a result Gilgamesh treats his people in a very cruel manner. (quote here) Even though Gilgamesh starts off treating his people badly, his character begins to change through the presence of Enkidu. Much more than a sidekick or a servant, he is Gilgamesh’s soul mate, brother, and equal, even his conscience. Gilgamesh becomes more supportive of Enkidu and encourages him in various...
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