Immortality In Oedipus And Gilgamesh

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The Assyrians and Greeks both had heroes that exemplified their cultural values at the time. Oedipus and Gilgamesh both went on journeys leading to immortality; however, the forms of their immortality differed vastly. The Assyrians and Greeks both believed that immortality only came after obtaining certain desirable character traits, usually formed through suffering; however, the Assyrian’s individualistic culture actively strove for individual immortality, whereas the Greek’s collectivistic culture did not. By looking at the Assyrian and Greek cultures through the lenses of their stories, we can better understood their views on life, death, and what happens after.
At the very end of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh questions “What can
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In Oedipus at Colonus, the city of Athens is praised more than any person for “her great pride and for the splendor destiny has conferred on her.”(179). In addition, Oedipus talks about Athens reputation for being pious and welcoming, and asks the chorus not to “blot your cities luster” by turning him away (158). The Greeks highly prized putting others before yourself, and like the Assyrians saw this trait as coming after suffering. If a person is going to put others before himself, he cannot be seeking personal glory. Oedipus has to suffer all through his terrible fate to learn this, but says at the beginning of Colonus “Suffering and time…have been instructors in contentment.” In addition, after suffering for his family’s mistakes and gouging out his own eyes, Oedipus puts the needs of the Thebes before his own and asks to be exiled so that the curse can be lifted. Since they valued the group over the individual, the Greeks saw immortality as coming only after contributing to the advancement of others, and would not have desired individual immortality. When Oedipus is told by Teiresias that solving the riddle of the sphinx doomed him, he replies “I do not care, if it has saved the city” (92). In the end of Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus obtains his immortality by blessing the city of Athens and giving her his …show more content…
While the Assyrians believed you should try to make yourself be remembered by doing great deeds, the Greeks believed you should help the city contributing to its long life. Yet both of these views are somewhat self-serving. Being a wise king and protecting your people is very useful to a cultures advancement, just as putting the needs of the city above your own. So while they may have truly believed these things, their beliefs were probably helped along by the realization that these values were ultimately beneficial to their

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