Professor Kenneth Peter
The Virtuous Beings
Modern society glorifies people for much pettier accomplishments when compared to that of the ancient times. During the twenty-first century, a convicted felon may come back after serving a prison sentence and present himself as a figure of perfection. Less than five years ago, a football player, named Michael Vick was arrested and convicted of illegal actions involving the maltreatment of domesticated animals. Shortly after serving his sentence, he was once again beloved by his fans and rewarded with a phenomenal contract which would be worth wild in any corresponding lifetime. Looking at these examples, it’s easy to see how corrupted society is today. In the ancient world, their society was very more virtuous. Because of the different virtues of the time, it took a great deal more to become a public idol to the people. Virtuous figures from the ancient world are Gilgamesh, Abraham, Moses, and Odysseus. Gilgamesh, a seemingly corrupt leader, later embarks on a humbling journey which helps him to discover the true meaning of life; Moses, an honest and patient man, has his true values highlighted as God chooses him to lead his people out of captivity; Abraham, an apparent commonplace man, is presented as a bold individual who is not afraid to prove his allegiance to God; and Odysseus is a prime example of a hero in the ancient world who has his own ups and downs during a dangerous and eventful journey back home to the people he has always loved. When connecting
a figure like Gilgamesh to the likes of a movie actor of modern society, it is impossible to ignore the contrast in inherent virtues of the people of the time.
As Gilgamesh begins, Gilgamesh is actually quite the opposite of virtuous – he is a lust-driven, oppressive ruler who exercises harsh and immoral will upon his people. However, Gilgamesh’s progression towards becoming a virtuous individual is...