Comparison Essay On Beowulf And Gilgamesh

Show More

Civilizations and Heroism in Gilgamesh and Beowulf

Heroism is a theme that has appeared throughout history in the literature of different civilizations. Heroes represent the principles and ideals associated with the varying morals of each individual society. The literature of Mesopotamia and Western Europe is a prime example of this. Beowulf, an Anglo-Germanic tale and The Epic of Gilgamesh, of the Sumerians, demonstrate perfectly, the ability of civilizations to convey the values and customs of their society through their literature. The setting for Beowulf is Scandinavia, before the time Christianity had spread its course. Beowulf, the title character is the hero in this tale. He possesses many of the typical heroic traits…show more content…

He battles Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. He knowingly risks his life while never backing out of the commitments he made, even when death is inevitable. The heroic traits of Beowulf allow him to achieve the great feats, which he accomplishes in this legend. The character of Beowulf exemplifies the Anglo-Germanic cultural values of a hero. He consistently displays what is of importance morally to this civilization. To this group of people, courage, strength and loyalty were the most important aspects of their culture. Beowulf fights the monster Grendel, knowing that he must do it without any weapons. This kind of strength is strived for by the Anglo-Germanic people. Fighting the mother of Grendel and the dragon, basically by himself, show how courageous of a man he was. Beowulf is loyal to his people as well. As a king, he fights the dragon, who is not directly as much of a threat to Beowulf, but more to the people that he rules over. Knowing the dangers of fighting this beast, he does it out of loyalty for the people who rely on him. Beowulf is a great hero, both by the standards of the Anglo-Germanic people and by the standards of what t takes to be a hero today. Gilgamesh, as a hero, varies from Beowulf, however still represents what is of importance to the culture of which he was created. He is not as pure by the standards of our society today. He still possesses the great strength and courage of a typical hero, however he

Comparison Between Beowulf And Gilgamesh Essay

Beowulf and Gilgamesh

There are many differences and critical comparisons that can be drawn

between the epics of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Both are historical poems

which shape their respected culture and both have major social, cultural,

and political impacts on the development of western civilization

literature and writing. Before any analysis is made, it is vital that

some kind of a foundation be established so that a further, in-depth

exploration of the complex nature of both narratives can be accomplished.

The epic of Gilgamesh is an important Middle Eastern literary work,

written in cuneiform on 12 clay tablets about 2000 BC. This heroic poem is

named for its hero, Gilgamesh, a tyrannical Babylonian king who ruled the

city of Uruk, known in the Bible as Erech (now Warka, Iraq). According to

the myth, the gods respond to the prayers of the oppressed citizenry of

Uruk and send a wild, brutish man, Enkidu, to challenge Gilgamesh to a

wrestling match. When the contest ends with neither as a clear victor,

Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends. They journey together and share

many adventures. Accounts of their heroism and bravery in slaying

dangerous beasts spread to many lands.

When the two travelers return to Uruk, Ishtar (guardian deity of the city)proclaims her love for the heroic Gilgamesh. When he rejects her, she

sends the Bull of Heaven to destroy the city. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill

the bull, and, as punishment for his participation, the gods doom Enkidu

to die. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh seeks out the wise man Utnapishtim

to learn the secret of immortality. The sage recounts to Gilgamesh a story

of a great flood (the details of which are so remarkably similar to later

biblical accounts of the flood that scholars have taken great interest in

this story). After much hesitation, Utnapishtim reveals to Gilgamesh that

a plant bestowing eternal youth is in the sea. Gilgamesh dives into the

water and finds the plant but later loses it to a serpent and,

disconsolate, returns to Uruk to end his days.

This saga was widely studied and translated in ancient times. Biblical

writers appear to have modeled their account of the friendship of David

and Jonathan on the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Numerous

Greek writers also incorporated elements found in the Gilgamesh epic into

their dragon-slaying epics and into stories concerning the close bond

between Achilles and Patroclus.

Gilgamesh is definitely the best known of all ancient Mesopotamian heroes. Numerous tales in the Akkadian language have been told about Gilgamesh, and the whole collection has been...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf

740 words - 3 pages Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf Most of us have heard of modern day heroes such as Spiderman, Superman, and the Hulk. Each is a hero to many children. Heroes are introduced to people early on in life usually as fictional characters, but as children grow older their perceptions of heroes alter. The characteristics of a hero are usually based around the ideas of a society or culture. In the epic Beowulf, the main character is thought...

Comparison: Beowulf, Grendel, and Robin Hood

1150 words - 5 pages Has someone ever went out of their way to help you? In the summer of 2012, I won a calf in the Snake River Stampede Calf Scramble. I decided to buy a heifer from Bill and Beverly White of Hyde Angus Ranch. They had excellent cattle and seemed very eager to help me in any way possible. They gave all the help and support I needed in raising my heifer, including breeding her and raising the calf. I was very amazed at the White’s generosity. They...

Conflict Between Gods and Humans in Gilgamesh and "The Odyssey"

1751 words - 7 pages Elaborate sacrifices, wonderful feasts, jubilant celebrations, all of which are acts that demonstrate the reverence of humans for the supernatural gods; a common motif in both the ancient Mesopotamia depicted in Gilgamesh, and the ancient Greece of The Odyssey. What seems to be a perfectly harmonious relationship between men seeking protection and Providence from their...

Civilizations and Heroism in the Epic Poems of Gilgamesh and Beowulf

948 words - 4 pages Heroism is a theme that has appeared throughout history in the literature of different civilizations. Heroes represent the principles and ideals associated with the varying morals of each individual society. The literature of Mesopotamia and Western Europe is a prime example of this. Beowulf, an Anglo-Germanic tale and The Epic of Gilgamesh, of the Sumerians, demonstrate perfectly, the ability of civilizations to convey the values and...

Comparison of Beowulf and Grendel from the two stories beowulf and grendel.

953 words - 4 pages In the novels Beowulf, translated by Benton Raffel and Grendel by John Gardner, there is a character that is vividly portrayed. This character is the...

Beowulf and Sir Gawain: a Comparison of Two Heroes

1535 words - 6 pages In Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight there are two heroes that help the present day reader gain insight into what the hero of the Middle Ages would have held as ideals and necessary triumphs. Beowulf and Sir Gawain each fill a different role within their unique societies. Beowulf is a leader and a savior in times of need, willing to go to any length to help another group of people as well as his own kingdom. Sir Gawain is also...

A Comparison of the Scop in Beowulf and Widsith

1027 words - 4 pages The Scop in Beowulf and Widsith.       The scop in Anglo-Saxon times had a very defined role. A comparison between the scop in Beowulf and the scop in Widsith will more clearly define for us what that role was.   The 142 verses of Widsith are the oldest in the English language, and form the earliest output in verse of any Germanic people. Widsith contains a huge catalog of 70 tribes and  69 important people, many of whom are proven...

A Comparison of the Sea in Beowulf and The Seafarer

1637 words - 7 pages The Sea in Beowulf and The Seafarer         The characters in the Old English poem Beowulf certainly delighted in the seas. This essay seeks to compare their attitude toward the sea with that expressed in another Old English poem, The Seafarer.   In Beowulf there is one reference after another to the sea. When Scyld died, “his people caried him to the sea, which was his last request,” where he drifted out into the beyond on a...

A Comparison of the Divine in Gilgamesh, the Old Testament of the Bible, and Metamorphoses

1164 words - 5 pages The Divine in Gilgamesh, The Old Testament, and Metamorphoses     Along with different languages, customs and traditions, ancient Hebrews, Middle-easterners and Romans had very different beliefs about the divine. For example, Hebrews are monotheistic, while Middle-easterners and Greco-Romans of early time periods believe in many gods. Writings from the ancient time period sketch these differences, as well as the many similarities between...

Comparison of the Deluge in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis

1784 words - 7 pages Ultimate RedemptionBoth The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis contain stories of a mass flood that is meant to wipe out humanity entirely, or almost entirely. The deluge is a result of the gods' or God's wrath. In both stories the flood is global, God or the gods intend to...

A Comparison between Othello and The Trial

1303 words - 5 pages A Comparison between Othello and The Trial    In the same way that the concept innocence and arrogance appear at cross-purposes, a comparison between "Othello" by William Shakespeare and " The Trial " by Franz Kafka at first sight appears contradictory. On closer analysis however, both these terms and these two works can be shown to have demonstrated the same inseparable idea.   The philosophy of both times introduces the ideas. And...

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *