Oedipus Vs Gilgamesh Essay

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In Oedipus the King and The Epic of Gilgamesh, a common theme is blindness and sight in the main characters. The two main characters differ in their motivation to find the truth, the type of truth that they are trying to discover, and their reaction to finally “seeing”. Oedipus and Gilgamesh are both trying to see the light in their respective stories. The reasons for finding the truth in each story is different. Gilgamesh’s reason for his search is selfish and Oedipus’ reason begins as selfless and turns into a personal quest for truth. Oedipus tells his city of his intentions to find Laius’ murderer when he says “…who so among you knows the murderer by whose hand Laius… died- I command him to tell everything to me…” (Oed. 1.242-245). This …show more content…
After discovering who he really is, Oedipus blinds himself. The Chorus interprets what has happened to Oedipus when they say “Poor wretch, what madness has come upon you!” (2. 1490). After he realizes who he is, Oedipus goes mad with grief. Gilgamesh on the other hand, learns that after losing both opportunities to immortality, he will eventually die like everyone else. Instead of throwing away his life, like Oedipus, he decides to immortalize himself by putting his story on a tablet that people will read forever. Both characters experience loss when they finally “see” and Oedipus discovers that he would rather be blind to what he now knows, but Gilgamesh makes the most out of his situation and achieves eternal life his own way. In the end of the two stories, “seeing” the truth drives Oedipus mad and pushes Gilgamesh to become immortal through the memory of others. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Oedipus the King both follow the theme of blindness versus sight towards the truth. The two main characters differ in their reasons for pursuing the truth, the kind of truth they hope to find, and their final reaction to seeing the light. They move through a common theme, but in different

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