Odysseus and Gilgamesh as Strong Ancient Leaders
In ancient literature the epic hero is a character that embodies the values of his society. They are shown favor or disfavor by the gods and are generally larger than life figures. There are many similarities in the epic heroes Gilgamesh and Odysseus. They are both men of great power, cunning, and adoration. More important however is that they share many attributes that prove that both are strong ancient leaders. They rule their kingdoms with great respect from their peers, they both share a relationship with the gods that implies divine selection, and they both display immense physical strength. These assets show the similarities in the two epic heroes as strong ancient leaders. Both Odysseus and Gilgamesh acquired great respect as rulers from their peers. Menelaus, king of Sparta, displays his respect by sharing the stories of Odysseus’s bravery with Telemachus, Odysseus’s son who was abandoned when Odysseus left for war. After Odysseus washes up on the shore of the Phaeacians and is found by Nausicaa, he gives his testimony to the king Alcinous. The king is impressed with the story of Odysseus’s journey home and the many situations that he was able to escape from. Alcinous offers safe passage to Odysseus back to his home land of Ithaca. Just as Odysseus is shown respect by his peers, Gilgamesh is shown admiration in a similar fashion. The best illustration of this respect is that given to him by Enkidu. After the two demigods fight and it is ended in a stalemate, they form a strong bond and develop a mutual respect. Edkidu reminds Gilgamesh how "Ninsun, exalted you above the most valorous of men"(109). Giving him the ultimate respect making him comparable to no one. Great strength is imperative to great leaders. Odysseus and Gilgamesh exhibit great strength through their relationship with the gods. Possibly a greater suggestion of their strength as leaders is their relationship with the gods and...
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