Comparison of Homeric Epics and Gilgamesh
Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Heroes: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkley: U. of California P, 1984.
Homer's epic may have been influenced by Mesopotamian heroic poetry as well as by a common Indo-European background. The Epic of Gilgamesh includes a number of motifs found in the Iliad and Odyssey.
|Its hero is a great warrior king,||emphasized the achievement of great warriors|
|of partly divine and partly human parentage,||who were of mixed divine and human heritage|
|but definitely mortal;||but nonetheless mortal.|
|he experiences profound grief at the death (due in part for his own desire for glory) of his beloved warrior companion, Enkidu||Achilles experiences profound grief at the death (due in part for his own desire for glory) of his beloved warrior companion, Patroclus|
|Gilgamesh strives to achieve immortality for Enkidu and himself||However great their deeds, these heroes could not transcend death, the limit of human condition;|
|but in the end learns that heroic deeds and the memory of them are the only immortality possible for human beings, however great||They fought individually for their own glory and socially for their comrades and community; but immortality comes only through the celebration in song by poets, who thus conferred on them undying glory, and through the worship in hero cults by later generations, who acknowledged their godlike, though not divine, status (17|
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