The Epic of Gilgamesh
In the epic of Gilgamesh, the characters were chosen to help develop the theme of heroism as a concept in society.Through their characterization, the author helps understand heroes as ordinary individuals who successfully develop good relations with society and also obey the norms of society. The two main characters Gilgamesh demonstrate significant differences as well as similarities, which help in defining the main themes of the story.
One similarity between Enkidu and Gilgamesh is that they are both heroic figures whose characters are an intermediary between humans and divine. Both characters are more powerful than humans but lack the immorality of the gods; the gods designed Enkidu while Gilgamesh was a direct descent from the gods. As such, the two characters have equal powers. Surprisingly, the two characters posit significant character differences. Whereas Gilgamesh was physically appealing and handsome, Enkidu is brought out with a beast physique, having survived with the animals in the forest before surfacing to live with humans. Again Gilgamesh is courageous, arrogant whereas Enkidu is less proud and with an intrinsic need to save people from the tyranny of Gilgamesh.
These differences in character are of relevance since they have helped in giving the story flow and shaping the direction taken at each instance of the story. For example, Enkidu was bestowed with a gift of interpreting dreams. This then gives him a more prominent character in the play. If Gilgamesh had been awarded this gift, he would not have needed Enkidu except for his physical brutality, which would not be helpful I developing the overarching theme of the story. I am inclined to attribute both differences and similarities with the well-defined themes of the epic.Remarkably, both characters exhibited significant similarities, such as their lust and strength, which contributes to the main themes in the story. Again, due to the character’s similarities, each comes to learn the meaning of life in different ways. Both Gilgamesh and Enkidu are told to have descended from the gods to show that they are both humans but with limitations.
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