Heroic Values

Topics: Iliad, Achilles, Trojan War Pages: 4 (1367 words) Published: March 20, 2008
Heroic Values
A hero is defined as someone with distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. But is that the only criterion that makes up a hero? Sometimes there are heroes who are not admired by everyone initially. Other times a person might not always have distinguished ability, but pulls through at the right time to make himself a hero. The truth is, there are no exact qualities that make up a hero. One person may be seen as a hero to some people, but not to everyone. Heroes can be human or immortal, and may have character flaws. In fact, a hero may not even be liked by everyone. Gilgamesh, Achilles, and Aeneas are all considered heroes. All three of these men are leaders, which is a very usual quality of a hero. All three of these men have a challenge to overcome in order to make themselves a better leader and become or remain a hero. Gilgamesh, Achilles, and Aeneas all share common values that define them as heroes.

Gilgamesh is not a hero at the beginning of the story. He is a king, a man who is indeed very powerful- but this does not make him a hero. Early in the story, Gilgamesh is anything but a hero because he actually abuses his power and takes advantage of his people of Uruk. He is two parts god, one part human, and the strongest in the land. The creation of Enkidu, his equal, is the first step of Gilgamesh becoming a hero.

When Anu in the sky heard this,/ he said to Aruru, great goddess of creation
that she is:/ ‘You created humans; create again in the image of Gilgamesh
and let this imitation be/ as quick in heart and as strong in arm/ so that these
counterforces might first engage,/ then disengage, and finally let Uruk's
children/ live in peace'/(Gilgamesh, Ln 69-75).
It is Gilgamesh's relationship with Enkidu and his journey for eternal life that shape his values into those of a heroic king. The fight between Enkidu and Gilgamesh marks the beginning of a friendship between...
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