Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Compare and Contrast
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Common Themes
Introduction: Mythical Characters and Their Heroic Qualities Mythical characters in literature have significantly projected personal qualities and ways of living in the communities. They also reflect different attributes of humans, such as heroism, revenge, apathy, etc.
The most commonly renowned mythological texts that project heroic attributes are Homer’s Odyssey and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Comparing different mythical heroes from literature can help understand their different qualities and heroic ideals. This paper makes a comparison of Odysseus and Gilgamesh in order to find out what their similarities and differences are.
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Compare and Contrast The text about Odyssey is written by Homer, while Gilgamesh is written by Shin-Eqi-Unninni. On comparison, Odysseus and Gilgamesh possess traits such as friendliness, courage, and heroism. Odysseus had a hereditary right to the throne and ruled Ithaca that was complemented by his impartiality, ruthlessness and diplomatic skills.
On the other hand, Gilgamesh was the king of Uruk in Babylonia, who is physically sturdy and strong, having supernatural powers and the will to protect his people (George). As Gilgamesh was an oppressor, he was given the title of the goring wild bull.
By taking a look at Homer’s Odyssey, one can observe that he was a hero based on his pure spirituality and strength to take challenges. At the beginning of the tale of Odysseus, he sailed far, reached north, put the ships on Hangar, where Eurylochus, who was second in command of Odysseus, prepared a male and female sheep for sacrifice.
After offering prayers to the dead, the people of the river offered the sheep to them and put the remaining parts in a pit that had been dug with shadows of the dead gathering around. It was a ritual to establish communion with the dead who bore messages for the living and was respected and offered sacrifices. Odysseus has been observed to take the challenge despite the fact he was aware of all the hardships (Louden).
Odysseus was greatly opposed by her wife, mother, and other people who really cared about him. But he continues to achieve his objective, and show is a heroic attribute. There were many memorable quotes mentioned in the Odyssey that show his high morals and astounding insights.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More The fact that he had different heroic ideals can be understood by the following quotation from the text. It states that “‘Stand clear, put up your sword; let me but taste of blood. I shall speak true. ‘” Book 11, lines 106-7 (Louden). The above-noted dialogue was delivered by Odysseus’s mother on the event of slaughter of animals by Odysseus.
Similarly, in the Epic Of Gilgamesh, we can note that the protagonist is two-thirds god and one-third human. The character of Gilgamesh is an example of a supernatural force in the story. He is not only brave and sturdy like Odysseus, but also miraculously trusted by the people. Gilgamesh used his power for the sustenance of his people.
For instance, he dug wells and made barren land cultivable for his people, providing them with space for agriculture and paving the way through mountains and making passes for access. He also constructed fortified walls for his people in and around Uruk. Gilgamesh had defiance in him as far as doctrines are concerned about having a thirst for glory (George).
On one fateful event, Gilgamesh, accompanied by Enkidu, entered the forest that was forbidden to mortals. They cut the trees and slay fiendish Humbaba with the help of Shamash’s divine intervention. The most interesting part of Gilgamesh’s tale is that he initially was not liked by the masses but later on succeeded in living a dazzling joyous life. Gilgamesh’s intrepidity said the words to follow to his followers:
“Until the end comes, enjoy your life, spend it in happiness, and not despair. Savor your food, make each of your days a delight, bathe and anoint yourself, wear bright clothes that are sparkling clean, let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand, and give your wife pleasure in your embrace. That is the best way for a man to live”. These words were said by Gilgamesh to highlight the true nature of life, showing his fortitude and command due to his personal experience (George 83).
In both historical mythologies, the two prime characters of Gilgamesh vs Odysseus have conflicting characteristics, throwing light on the varying role a hero plays. To normal understanding, both the heroes have the bravery and divine intervention in common (Launderville).
Gilgamesh, for instance, is involved in manipulating recent married brides who did not see their husbands face putting a big question mark on his character. Odysseus, on the other hand, is exactly Gilgamesh’s opposite. He also has his ups and downs, but characteristically cares for his people and has a good relationship with his son and virtuous wife (George). In this aspect, Odysseus differs from Gilgamesh in a complete way.
We will write a custom Essay on Gilgamesh and Odysseus: a Comparison specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The comparison of Odysseus and Gilgamesh makes sense when a goal is materialized in both the stories. Both of them have a sense of urgency and stand for a cause. Odysseus is considered cunning but loyal to his wife and child, and Gilgamesh tries to be immortal, making “heroism” a cultural value in both the Sagas (Louden).
Gilgamesh becomes righteous king from a bully and tyrant by love or friendliness of Enkidu. The death of Gilgamesh’s friend’s death is another event that makes the way Gilgamesh thinks about living different. The similarity of Enkidu and Gilgamesh is that they both realize that the gods, when angered, become devastatingly brutal. Ea is the god of wisdom and crafts rescues Utnapishtim and other species and the whole of humankind (Callen King).
Gilgamesh is portrayed as an oppressive hero and a fearless, noble warrior. And the weakness displayed for the plant of youth and his friend’s death makes him only human, and as we know, there are no black or white areas in a human’s reaction; there are only grey areas in Gilgamesh’s attitude. Was Gilgamesh free to act on his will, or did the gods control him? Which makes a justified question? (Callen King)
Gilgamesh starts with a journey while Odysseus is already on one right from the beginning of the text. Both men holding prominent positions in the respective tales have physical powers given to them by gods. Both the epic tales were initially poems praising their respective heroes. While Gilgamesh is an example of a supernatural force, Odysseus stands out as a better strategist. His entering the enemy’s fortified area was indeed a clear display of valor. And fighting his way through the difficult times confidently emerging as victorious (Launderville).
Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Common Themes The common theme present is of heroism in both the Epic tales. They are men with extraordinary strength and supremacy. The heroes give us sheer strength in mind and on the other hand, understanding of heroic physical strength in particular. Both heroes face death and travel through their paths bravely and honorably with Odysseus’s family facing hardships due to his faraway journey in pursuit of knowledge and wealth. Both the characters break themselves to hero and tyrants.
Gilgamesh succeeds with his lesson about the reality of man being mortal soon. He also understood that no matter what one’s achievements are, even if they are godlike as far as Gilgamesh is concerned, one has to cherish the smaller things. It took Gilgamesh a single day while Odysseus’s journey expanded to twenty years to understand that everyone has to discover the meanings of life.
Gilgamesh and Odysseus were designed to confront the outer limits of human existence and then to bring back knowledge extracted from this extreme perspective (Launderville).
Gilgamesh shows no mercy to the beast and slays it taking apt advice from Enkidu, who says: “Kill the beast now Gilgamesh. Show no weak or silly mercy towards so sly a foe.” Taking the advice, Gilgamesh cuts the beast.
Not sure if you can write a paper on Gilgamesh and Odysseus: a Comparison by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Odysseus, on the other hand, though Athena’s divine assistance, along with Telemachus, and a couple of herdsmen, manages to kill all of the suitors. The katabasis generally referred to amongst many others as a trip to the supernatural underworld. Katabasis is also adverted to a journey through this world to another plane in this incident the trip to the underworld (Launderville).
Conclusion This essay looked at the similarities and differences of Gilgamesh and Odysseus, two famous characters of epics. In summary, it becomes visible that Odysseus vs Gilgamesh are two heroic characters from mythological texts. Both the mythical heroes have shown that everyone has the attribute to take up challenges and learning from experiences. Thus, the common theme of both the mythical texts presents that attributes of heroism can be attained by anyone provided they are ready to face challenges. Still, there are some aspects in which Odysseus differs from Gilgamesh very much. The latter, for instance, is involved in manipulations, while the former characteristically cares for those who surround him.
Works Cited Callen King, Katherine. Ancient epic. Chichester,West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
George, A. R. The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Launderville, Dale. Spirit and reason: the embodied character of Ezekiel’s symbolic thinking. Texas: Baylor University Press, 2007.
Louden, Bruce. Homer’s Odyssey and the Near East. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Kathleen McNamara’s “Constructing Authority in the European Union” Essay (Critical Writing)
Nursing Assignment Help Introduction Governance is a process where a government effectively exercises its constitutional authority and utilizes its resources adequately. The problems and affairs are collectively overseen by international organizations, government of countries and World organizations like; United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) respectively.
In the course of governing the globe, all the super powers that participate in this process make and implement policies that are beneficial to its citizens, government or corporate organizations. These benefits are either political or financial.
This essay will constructively criticize Kathleen McNamara’s article “constructing authority in the European Union” which tries to portray the EU as illegitimate and a taken for granted political entity.
Furthermore, the essay will analyze the importance of the EU as a global governor and the dividends which Europeans enjoy through this respected and important organization. This article critique is intended to acquaint the reader with the writer’s perspective regarding globalization and the management of the globe in a globalized age. (McNamara, 154)
The European Union as a Global Governor The European Union has by every legitimate means contributed immensely to the growth of both member states of the union and the entire globe. The EU is regarded as one of the most powerful and successful political innovations in the world. It has 27 member states with its powerful presence recognized in a lot of political spheres. (McNamara, 153)
Despite the EU’s reputation, writer Kathleen McNamara thinks otherwise. This brings to mind the question; what is McNamara’s perimeter for measuring success? Also important, one begins to wonder about McNamara’s source of information and how reliable or authentic these sources are.
It is important to note that, there is no reliable and scholarly authority that supports McNamara’s argument and this implies that, the article “constructing authority in the European Union” is merely a personal opinion of McNamara. Regardless of the fact that every individual is entitled to his/her own opinion about any issue, McNamara’s argument about the EU could be termed as dogmatic.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More A literal example of this could be seen in the argument about the EU’s passport. The ability of the EU to successfully establish a standardized passport is a milestone achievement and a bold step in the right direction. This step is already emulated by the African Union and this clearly shows that, the EU regardless of McNamara’s argument had done something useful and worth emulating. (McNamara, 171)
The EU has its significant presence in the world trade organization (WTO) and other formal international forums like the G-8. The world trade organization and the G-8 are reputable and formal international forums that have contributed a lot to the growth of the entire world through policy making. These forums consist of scholars, reputable politicians and intelligent policy makers from different nations around the world.
If the EU was a taken for granted political entity as McNamara tries to describe it, serious minded international forums like the G-8 which has world powers like United States of America (USA), China and a host of other countries as members would not have recognized the EU presence in its forum. These examples show that the EU has clearly been a significant and seriously taken political entity not only in Europe but the entire world at large. (McNamara, 156)
Criticizing Kathleen McNamara’s argument about the European Union (EU) Kathleen McNamara’s arguments, opinions and interpretations of EU’s policies are definitely misplaced. The EU as an entity, does not function alone and policies of the EU are widely recognized and respected throughout the world which is an indication that the EU is not a taken for granted political entity. This renders all the arguments and sources of McNamara null and void.
In McNamara’s article “constructing authority in the European Union”; the writer tries to describe the EU as an illegitimate political entity since its legitimacy is contested by certain people. McNamara feels legitimate authority means achieving a significant level of acceptance without coercion. (McNamara, 153) But it is important for the reader to note at this point that, there is no single policy, law or decision, be it legitimate or not that is unanimously accepted by people.
This means that, it is literally impossible for any organization to make decisions or policies that will be unanimously accepted by everybody involved. A lot of policies made in the past by other international organizations were also challenged or contested; the power and transparency of the United Nations has consistently been challenged too. But never in history has contesting the position of an organization been used as a yardstick to measure such an organization’s legitimacy.
Therefore, using a group of people’s opinion as a yardstick to contest the EU’s legality is totally absurd. More so, since the inception of the EU, it has only experienced an increment in the number of its member states which stands currently at 27. If the EU was coercive as McNamara tries to describe it, its membership would have decreased instead of steadily increasing. It is expected that McNamara would have taken into cognizance all this facts before concluding that the EU is illegitimate and coercive. (McNamara, 157)
We will write a custom Critical Writing on Kathleen McNamara’s “Constructing Authority in the European Union” specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Another argument by McNamara which lacks substantial evidence to support the writer’s thesis is referring to the EU as an elite project without mass participation in decision making. McNamara ought to have known better but the writer prefers to lurk in the dark about the EU, obviously blinded by personal opinions. With 27 member states and making decisions and policies that affect over 200 million Europeans, the reference to the European Union an elite project is totally absurd and terrible. (McNamara, 172)
Conclusion Writer Kathleen McNamara obviously used unreliable sources with distorted facts and half truths to write the article “constructing authority in the European union”. The writer’s argument is dogmatic as aforementioned with no substantial evidence to support the argument. The article was more or less written from McNamara’s personal opinion and the article can therefore, be classified as a mere expression of the writer’s opinion.
Issues like the EU passport had been embedded with the words “European Union” on it are trivial besides the AU also has its passport embedded with the words “African Union”. Furthermore, if the European Union decides to depart from the modern age model of political authority been tied closely to sovereign or territorial states and a new model works effectively for the EU, then McNamara has no reason to criticize such a decision. (McNamara, 174)
Considering the number of years that the EU has been in existence and it’s ever increasing membership; it can be logically concluded that the EU has solid significant cultural foundations that are important and significant to Europeans no matter what McNamara thinks.
Works Cited McNamara, Kathleen. Constructing authority in European Union: Chicago: Regency, 2007. Print