Differences Of Achilles In The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Achilles

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Both are the combination of man and god. Both have gods interfere in their lives. Both have friends that die during the course of their lives. As characters in a story, Gilgamesh in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Achilles in The Iliad share striking plot similarities. They are not the same story however. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Mesopotamian epic where the main character, King Gilgamesh, is an oppressive and unjust ruler until he meets Enkidu whom he then goes on an adventure with. Gilgamesh attracts the notice of Ishtar, the goddess of love and warfare, whom he rejects harshly causing her to seek vengeance in the form of sending the Bull of Heaven whom the duo slay. Enkidu’s dies as a result of a disease given to him by the gods which …show more content…
Gilgamesh is first introduced as a king who fought all of the young men to prove he was better, pushed them to create grand architecture such as the walls surrounding Uruk, and took any woman he wished regardless of what they wanted: daughters, wives, and those to be married (1.55-67). His immense pride and ego made him feel like these were all things due to him. This is not unlike Achilles in The Iliad who believes that it is an attack on his honor and pride to have something denied to him. The first scene in The Iliad depicts Achilles wanting to kill Agamemnon for insinuating that he would steal Briseis, a war prize, from Achilles (1.130-317). The rage Achilles flies into had little to do with Briseis herself, but rather that someone would dare to take something that he thought of as his. In short, his pride was wounded. This is exemplified in his prayer to his mother Thetis where he cries that, “‘Olympian Zeus was supposed to grant me honor. /Well, he hasn’t given me any at all. Agamemnon /Has taken way my prize and dishonored me’” (1.368-370). Such an affront to his person could not possibly be ignored and he would be not satisfied with just a simply fight but one to the death; Achilles’ prideful anger was only stayed by the gods. His thoughts immediately fly toward killing Agamemnon, …show more content…
Although Achilles is told no throughout The Iliad, something always come along to give him what he essentially wanted anyway. For example, Athena stopped him from killing Agamemnon, but Thetis pled to Zeus for many Greeks to die. Achilles wanted someone to pay for his damaged pride and they did. Apollo protected Hector’s body form being damaged when Achilles drug it behind his chariot for days. His goal of causing Hector’s family more pain was accomplished, however, because they had to witness such atrocity. While it is not stated in the text, it can be inferred that Gilgamesh was also never told no before Enkidu arrived. The “Goddesses kept hearing [the peoples’] plaints,” to do something to change his actions but he was such a great force that they were frightened of his anger should someone say that what Gilgamesh was doing was wrong (1.67). He kept up his behavior of raping women and beating men with no remorse. When Enkidu arrived and called a halt to Gilgamesh entering into someone else’s bridal bed, Gilgamesh halted the action and all related actions. It was a no with authority and no way to get around it, something Achilles never experienced. By stopping such self-indulgent behavior, it made room for other emotions such as caring for Enkidu which would never have been possible beforehand. Gilgamesh and Achilles both never matured past fighting with anyone who

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