Answer to Question No. 2: The epic quest entails a goal; the hero seeks something—physical, spiritual, religious, social, familial— that drives the actions and causes the incidents of the epic. Compare and contrast the goals of two of the epics we have examined. Among the issues you may discuss: how do the goals differ? How are they similar? How successful is the hero in the attainment of his goal? How is such success measured or evaluated? Is there more than one goal, more than one hero?
Comparison of Two Epics – “The Iliad” and “The Epic of Gilgamesh”
The heroes of the epics “The Iliad – Achilles” and “The Epic of Gilgamesh – Gilgamesh and Enkidu” were super naturals in that Achilles was the son of Thetis, the daughter of the sea divinities Nereus and Doris; Gilgamesh was two-thirds god and one-third human; Enkidu, a wild-man created by the goddess Aruru.
The Iliad had one hero while The Epic of Gilgamesh had more than one hero.
The superheroes, whose physical strengths were extraordinary, had one common goal which was to beat the enemy. Achilles displayed his strength by fighting in arms with mortals while Gilgamesh and Enkidu fought with ferocious animals/creatures. The elements of the two epics were found to be similar in that the main characters had a close friend: Achilles’s closest friend was Patroclus; Gilgamesh’s dearest friend was Enkidu.
Both were triggered to fight for their dear friend. The difference was that Achilles’ goal was to be attained by killing Hector, the Trojan King who killed his dear friend Patroclus while Gilgamesh, in his quest to restore the health of Enkidu, had one other goal: to become immortal. Achilles’ success was to be measured by his effort in claiming the life of Hector by fighting with the latter in arms. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh’s success was to be measured by how he was able to plead with the gods for the life of his friend Enkidu and to obtain the plant that would bring him immortality. Achilles achieved his goal. Through his physical strength, he fought in arms with Hector. In spite of his mother Thetis’ warning, he was successful in his quest.
In contrast to the success attained by Achilles, Gilgamesh was not equally successful in the attainment of his goals. First, the gods had not granted his prayer for the restoration of Enkidu’s health. Second, he was not able to benefit from the plant that would bring immortality because it was eaten by a serpent instead. Having failed in the attainment of his goals, Gilgamesh returned to Uruk to end his days.
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Comparison of two epics. (2016, Sep 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparison-of-two-epics/