• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Heroes in Combat.

Extracts from this document...


Elizabeth Sudeta ENG 120 10/ 6/03 Paper # 1 Heroes in Combat A hero has many qualities not limited to physical strength and intelligence but also including the important qualities of a good man, friend, husband, and son. A hero can admit his or her flaws and demonstrate intelligence. Both Gilgamesh and Odysseus share these qualities in one way or another. Gilgamesh showed his strength and courage by aiding his friend, Enkidu during their journey to battle Humbaba. Together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu became heroic. Odysseus tended to rely more on himself and on the gods but never failed to show his heroism with his actions during his journey back to Troy and his dedication to his wife, Penelope and son Telemachus. Gilgamesh and Enkidu, initially enemies, realized their physical strength was matched in combat and with a kiss sealed their friendship. Gilgamesh defines himself as a hero, wanting more than anything, to have people remember him after his death. Before Gilgamesh set off on his journey to battle with Humbaba, the people of the city as well as the counselors blessed and warned him, "Do not trust too much in your own strength, be watchful, restrain your blows at first" (20). They also advise him to, "...let Enkidu lead the way, he knows the road to the forest, he has seen Humbaba and is experienced in battles..."(20). ...read more.


However, Enkidu and Gilgamesh's journey tested more of their friendship and the strength in that friendship which helped them to succeed. In contrast, Odysseus relied mostly on himself, rather than his men to accomplish the journey home. When the Kyklops, Polyphemus, intimidated Odysseus and his men, the only man brave enough to find his voice was Odysseus. "We are from Troy, Akhaians, blown off course by shifting gales on the Great South Sea; homeward bound, but taking routes and ways uncommon; so the will of Zeus would have it. We served under Agamemnon, son of Atreus-the whole world knows what city he laid waste, what armies he destroyed. It was our luck to come here; here we stand, beholden for your help, or any gifts you give-as custom is to honor strangers. We would entreat you, great Sir, have a care for the gods' courtesy; Zeus will avenge the unoffending guest." (325) However, the Kyklops was left unimpressed and replied by splattering two of his men, like dolls, against the floor. Odysseus and his men prayed to Zeus, and in a bit of haste Odysseus wanted to kill the Kyklops. Odysseus' moment of weakness challenged his irrational thinking, which overtook his usual sensible thoughts. Once he realized that he would be unable to do so because it would leave him and his men trapped in the cave, he calmed down and waited until morning. ...read more.


The achievements in battle, including the defeat of Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven and also a lengthy and difficult journey with the involvement of gods, Ea, Enlil, Ishtar and Shamash are proof of the heroes' determined persistence. The journey is what "sets Gilgamesh apart from the more straightforward heroic narratives..." and is what transformed him from a tyrant to a hero (12). Primarily, Gilgamesh was a young adolescent who seemed to not realize the duties of a king or what made a hero heroic. Enkidu not only eased Gilgamesh's loneliness but also helped him to be someone that would be remembered as being noble-- which achieved his hopes and dreams. We found out as the epic ends that "his consolation is the assurance that his worldly accomplishments will endure beyond his own lifetime." (12) The complete transformation of Gilgamesh becoming a hero was not only the battle against Humbaba but also the difficulty he felt losing his confidant, Enkidu. The conclusion of Gilgamesh leaves him a better man and hero not only in his own opinion but also in the opinion of the people of Uruk. He revealed a selfish, negative man in the beginning of the epic but has a positive change, which shows his strength and heroism. Odysseus never changed his intentions and passion for returning to his wife, which is courageous and heroic, especially shown in his actions throughout his journey. Both men experienced life-changing knowledge that shaped heroes out of them. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. The Odyssey Chapter Summaries. Books 5 to 12

    The next morning, Odysseus woke his men for the departure. He discovers, however, that the youngest man in his crew, Elpenor, had gotten drunk the previous night, slept on the roof, then fell from the it and broke his neck.

  2. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    have been acceptable in Peisistratos' time, it certainly isn't in the 21st Century. Cleisthenes: Cleisthenes was a figure whose contribution to the Athenian Constitution is as vast as Solon's was. His first reform was the reorganisation of governmental structures and the setting up of the Council of 500, or the Boule.

  1. Through book 2 of the aeneid and book 22 of the odyssey, which author ...

    a face off between the suitors and Odysseus before the main battle scene. In the Aeneid, Greek troops are said to "force their violent way in", using both the words "force" and "violent" shows that everything must succumb to their superior power and strength.

  2. A Clash Between Heroism and Realism: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    In the poem, the Green Knight's radiant color and luscious locks symbolize that the Green Knight is a man of nature, where chivalric laws and standards do not exist. After the Green Knight gallantly offers his game to the knights and nobody speaks up, he protests, Where is now your

  1. Alexander the Great: Battle of Gaugamela

    like the elephants were only animals, they could still be injured and stopped. In the centre were the phalanx and the Greek cavalry. A second line of infantry was following them, Alexander ordered them all to turn around and fight the enemy if they became surrounded as there was a

  2. How do Books 1 - 4 of the Odyssey prepare us for the introduction ...

    It gives me the impression that they have not been touched since Odysseus left Ithaka and therefore will not be touched until he returns. It shows me that Odysseus has a lot to return to and that is probably why he is so eager to make his journey home.

  1. Classics Essay, Compare and Contrast Penelope and Circe.

    Characters- The characters of Penelope and Circe are very different and yet similar as they are both described by homer as beautiful. In Circe's case homer does not actually describe her directly as being beautiful but he does describe that everything she does and everything she possesses beautiful for example 'singing in her beautiful voice' (10, 222)

  2. Odysseus becomes a much wiser man throughout his epic journey

    Odysseus comes up with a plan to free himself and his men. The next day, while Polyphemus is with his herd of sheep outside the cave, Odysseus finds a large stick and hardens it in the fire. When Polyphemus returns, Odysseus gets Polyphemus drunk on wine from his ship.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work