Comparing Gilgamesh And Achilles

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Comparison of Gilgamesh and Achilles In The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad, Gilgamesh and Achilles carry the burden of being powerful heroes and assume the leadership roles that follow. We see both characters make selfish decisions, experience the effects of companionship, and undergo moral change throughout their journeys. Tracing their decisions shows how they change, and more importantly exhibits what drives their change. Gilgamesh’s main internal struggle is rooted in the well being of the people of Uruk versus the well being of himself. Gilgamesh’s practice of prima nocte and lack of compassion for his people inspires resentment from the public of Uruk. Without the support of his people, he rules Uruk for the sole benefit…show more content…
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh crosses paths with Enkidu, a perfect man created by the gods. Enkidu spurs the process of changing Gilgamesh for the better by providing him with a valuable friendship that teaches him the benefits of caring about others. Achilles experiences the effects of companionship in a different context. When Patroclus goes to Achilles to use his armor to impersonate him in an effort to turn the tide of battle it effects Achilles emotionally. Patroclus is slain on the battlefield which eventually inspires Achilles to rejoin his fellow soldiers. The friendship of Patroclus shifts the mindset of Achilles similarly to how Enkidu’s friendship allows Gilgamesh to become a better king. Throughout both epics we see shifts from selfishness to selflessness. For Gilgamesh it is a more gradient shift towards benevolence, even though some events cause rapid changes of heart, such as slaying Humbaba and providing resources for Uruk. Achilles’s shift is much more abrupt, yet not as deep or meaningful. When he steps on the battlefield for the first time since abstaining he is not only doing it for Patroclus, but also his
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