English 2309 – TTH 12:30
February 16, 2009
There are many similarities and differences between Achilles and Gilgamesh. He was the most powerful hero that fought in the Trojan War. Achilles went into the Trojan War willingly; no one had forced him, and he most definitely went into it out of rage. He followed the steps of a Hero’s Journey very accordingly. Achilles’ rage put him through a war where he acquired what was important to most heroes, self honor. The characteristics of Achilles are very similar to the characteristics of Gilgamesh. They were both very powerful, god – like, and they both carried a lot of pride.
Of course, going into any battle, you are entering a threshold of adventure. The element is unknown and it is taking a huge risk. With that being said, they both went into battle voluntarily. Both Gilgamesh and Achilles had a prize that they desired, or something they wanted to seize from the battles. The only difference between the two is they had different things they wanted to obtain. Gilgamesh was looking for immortality while Achilles wanted self honor.
As each journey continues, they both acquire a new friend who they become very close to. The death of both of their friends devastates Achilles and Gilgamesh. The death of someone who was very dear to them completely changes their point of view. For Achilles, he cried in sorrow, and wanted to seek revenge. For Gilgamesh, he also cried, but went on a journey to seek immortality. For both of them, it took a death of their closest friend to determine the next stages of their lives.
Another similarity between the two is they both are tested of their capabilities. In The Iliad, Apollo sends a plague that wipes out a large number of soldiers in the Greek camp. Likewise, in Gilgamesh, the bull of Heaven was sent for him to battle. They were both sent something, and it was a test to see if they could get through it. This is the depth of their journeys.
Although there are many similarities, there are many differences as well. Gilgamesh encounters a shadow figure. In his journey, he reaches the gatekeepers that deny him entry through the gates. In The Iliad, Achilles does not encounter a shadow figure. Another difference is Achilles