Compare and Contrast: Oedpus and Gilgamesh

Topics: Epic poetry, English-language films, Debut albums Pages: 2 (446 words) Published: August 8, 2007
Compare and Contrast

Usually, in an epic, you always read about a hero. And, usually, you are faced with two types of heroes: a quest hero and a tragic hero. The definition of a quest hero is that an individual or a group of people embark on a journey to achieve a goal. You can find a quest hero in the epic of Gilgamesh. Now, a tragic hero is a dignified or a noble character who possesses a defect that brings about or contributes to his or her downfall. That's where Oedipus: The King comes in. Both epics are entirely different and similar at the same time.

Contrasting these two epics, Gilgamesh and Oedipus: The King, seems like a simple task, but it really isn't. There is so much going on with each character that you get side-tracked and forget which one married their mother or whose best friend died, but that's why it's exciting. Oedipus is different in many ways because Gilgamesh does not possess a tragic flaw and is not destined to do something that will contribute or bring about his downfall. Yes, Gilgamesh is vile and nasty in the beginning because he thinks he has the authority to go on with those actions. But, in the end, Gilgamesh comes out on top, and becomes a better human and king. Whereas, Oedipus starts out as doing what is considered the right thing and saving Thebes from the Sphinx, but then he realizes he did kill his father and Oedipus's situation gets even worse. Oedipus is put into exile and his family's misfortunes start from there.

Next, comparing these two epic should be an easier task because there is not much to it. They are both heroes in their own way and both embark on a journey to achieve a goal. Basically, the goal in the end is realizing your true self for both of them. Finding out the true identity from his parents for Oedipus or looking for eternal life for Gilgamesh, both attain their goals for finding their true identities. For better or worse.

Both these epics show you that you have to take careful...
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