Epic of Gilgamesh: a Hero Essay

1615 WordsOct 13, 20087 Pages
People have been fascinated by tales of heroism for centuries. In ancient Mesopotamia, heroes give people hope and comfort, and fill them with strength. Ancient Mesopotamia is filled with tales of heroes- mighty warriors battling monsters, men ready to risk life and limb to save their true love or to fight for their nation. Still, there is a great difficulty that lies in defining what a hero truly is. Strength alone does not make a hero; nor does intelligence. Moreover, the Epic of Gilgamesh truly defines the definition of a hero. Gilgamesh is portrayed as a true hero through his skill, intelligence, willingness to die, reverence, and his respect for death. Throughout the entire epic, Gilgamesh demonstrates outrageous skill as a…show more content…
He rows so hard and fast that is says, “Half way through all that pulling, Gilgamesh had worn the oars to bits.” Even Utnapishtim could not believe what he saw and says, “I do see, but I am blind. I do know, but cannot understand how he behaves like the beasts of here and there.” All of these things prove that he has the skill of a warrior and leadership ability beyond imagination, but that is not all that is required to be a hero. Intelligence builds the basis of a heroic individual, as well. Gilgamesh was a very intelligent leader. He shows throughout the entire epic a sense of foresight that keeps him safe and his city powerful. It is known, that a good leader must prove that he is powerful, and that he can defend his people in the best way possible. Gilgamesh knew that by fighting the terrible beast Humbaba he would prove to his people that he was strong and powerful and could out wit even the strongest beast. He tells Enkidu that, “All glory will be ours if now we conquer this unprecedented foe and risk the woe that frightens others.” He also shows foresight by respecting his mother’s wisdom when she told him that Enkidu was his true friend. Additionally, throughout the entire epic Gilgamesh looks to his mother, “who is wise and worries not,” for advice and counseling on things to do and the right paths to take in his life. Looking to those who are wise and more intelligent, is
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