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Is Gilgamesh an Epic Hero

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Is Gilgamesh an Epic Hero

  • By
  • March 19, 2014
  • 831 Words
  • 2 Views
  • Course: World Literature
  • Professor: Botein
  • School: Ocean County College, NJ
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Is Gilgamesh an Epic Hero?
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, the young king of the ancient Sumerian city-state of Uruk travels on long journey in search of internal life while facing many challenges and adverse situations while battling for his life. In this epic journey, Gilgamesh’s homecoming brings not only a loyal king, but also a hero to the people of Uruk. In this piece of ancient literature, Gilgamesh holds all of the characteristics of a hero as he displayed his skills as a brave warrior, an intelligent leader, and he is willing to die for his kingdom. When the gods created Gilgamesh in this heroic poem, they created a strong king that the great gods say, “two-thirds they made him god and one-third man” (48), empowering him with great strength and fearsome good looks. Gilgamesh is described as being “terrifying like a great wild bull” (48). In the beginning, Gilgamesh was a rambunctious young adult that abused his authority in his kingdom but eventually developed into a brave warrior that displays great courage. Gilgamesh first demonstrated his courage and great strength when he travels to the “Land of the Cedars” and slaughtered the beast that inhabits it, “[the] battering ram” called Humbaba (53). Gilgamesh’s goal in the slaying was to receive undying fame. To exhibit the terror associated with the feat of battling Humbaba, the townsmen feared for Gilgamesh’s wellbeing. They stated, “may your guardian god protect you on the road and bring you safely back to the quay of Uruk” (56). Humbaba was no match for Gilgamesh as he “struck Humbaba with a thrust of the sword to the neck” (60), proving his courage, he gave the severed head to the gods. After slaying the beast, he headed back to the people of Uruk. Again, he shows his feat as a valiant fighter when Ishart, (the Queen of Heaven) orders Anu (Father of the Gods) to send the “bull of Heaven” to earth to destroy Gilgamesh, however “he seized the thick of his tail, he thrust the sword between the nape...