Epic Journeys towards Improvement in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Oedipus Rex

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In the readings, The Epic of Gilgamesh and Oedipus Rex, both protagonists embark in an epic journey to either better themselves, or their kingdoms. Gilgamesh slays a monster with the help of Enkidu for fame, but then leaves his kingdom of Uruk to go on a quest for immortality. Oedipus outsmarts a monster and saves the city of Thebes once, but then has to save it once more by leaving Thebes. Both protagonists have similarities and differences in each of their journeys. Oedipus and Gilgamesh both similarly have higher beings that they pray to for help. The difference is that in the story of Gilgamesh the gods answer him, while in Oedipus the god has a priest that acts as a messenger and an oracle that can see the future. Without the intervention of the gods, both of the heroes’ stories would have had totally different outcomes. Gilgamesh would have probably died in his first fight with Humbaba. Oedipus might have been lucky enough to never find out about his past if the god’s prophecies never came true. Another major difference between the two protagonists is that Gilgamesh is born two-thirds divine and one-third human. He says, “If I fall on the way, I’ll establish my name: Gilgamesh…” (49). The hero of Uruk will do whatever it takes to leave his mark in the world. The fact that Gilgamesh is mostly divine helps him overcome fear that would scare a mere mortal. Oedipus is just a plain human being that was prayed to the gods and is desperately trying to not have the
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