Similarities Between Gilgamesh And Achilles

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Immortality, defined as unending existence. Whether in a life that goes on endlessly or a name that will be spoken throughout time, immortality was the goal for both Gilgamesh and Achilles. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh sees the horror of death in losing his friend Enkidu, and it forces him to face his own mortality. After his loss, Gilgamesh goes to the wilderness in exhaustive search for immortality of the flesh. Achilles similarly faced with profound grief after watching the desecration of Patroclus’ body; he goes into battle knowing he will die, but his name and deeds will live on. Beyond the desire for immortality, both Gilgamesh and Achilles mourn the loss of those close to them. The mourning process for Gilgamesh has him sitting with Enkidu’s body until the earth began taking it back and a worm crawls from his nose. Achilles while he did not sit with the body of Patroclus, he did drag his murderer’s corpse around his burial mound every day for nine days.

Women play a crucial and central role in both books. Whether it is the possession of women, use as a trophy in The Iliad or the reverence of women from all walks of life in The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, despite the contrast regarding the overall portrayal of women, both stories have women that act as council. In the Iliad, Achilles leans on his mother in his time of need. He asks her to go to Zeus and give favor to his enemy in war due to a case of hurt pride. However, even with her insistence that he stays home and has a family Achilles is still inclined to go to war for the glory. Similarly, Gilgamesh leans on his mother, heeding her advice when she advises him that Enkidu would be a great ally and friend. However, he does not listen to the sound advice given by the veiled bartender that advises him his quest for immortality is futile. The actions by these men prove that regardless of wisdom given both heroes take the advice of women only when they see fit.

When setting out to find the similarities between Gilgamesh and Achilles I was having a difficult time, all I could see were the differences between the two. Once I began writing this I found there were more similarities than I had initially realized. Overall, Gilgamesh and Achilles both deeply cared for those close to them and grieved passionately at the loss. They also ignored the wisdom bestowed on them by others when it went against their goal of immortality, valor and glory. By doing so, they dealt with grief that could have been avoided. Ultimately, they were both warriors and lovers. Their passion was war and women and when faced with an impossible battle they ran to it. For honor and glory both men would bulldoze the enemy, fight a mountain, put aside grievances and run into the fire carelessly and against the wishes of those who cared for them.

Cite this paper

Similarities Between Gilgamesh And Achilles. (2022, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/immortality-defined-as-unending-existence/

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