Gilgamesh Epic Hero Analysis

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Gilgamesh is the quintessential epic protagonist, or hero. The hero is traditionally of noble birth, is very strong and intelligent, and is prone to give long, eloquent speeches in the text. Gilgamesh is “two-thirds… divine, one-third of him was human! / The Lady of Birth drew his body’s image, / The God of Wisdom brought his stature to perfection” (Tablet I, lines 50-3). Therefore, having been born of Ninsun “the sublime wild cow,” he is innately placed in the cradle of nobility and bestowed rightful reign over Uruk. He is also noted throughout the text for his physical prowess; he is often compared to a “charging wild bull,” and is noted as being “perfect in height, / ideally handsome” (Tablet I, lines 53-4). Lastly, throughout the text, Gilgamesh is seen giving lengthy speeches typical of the epic hero, including a passage spanning 53 lines in Tablet VI in which Gilgamesh scoffs at Ishtar’s marriage proposal by painstakingly detailing her lovers’ demises. During his encounter with Utanapishtim in Tablet X, he continues his long laments, now of his friend Enkidu’s death and his own fear of death.

The Greek drama can be separated into two main categories: the comedy and the tragedy. Aristotle, in his Poetics, describes two of the essential plot devices central to the tragedy: a reversal of fortune (or peripeteia) and a recognition of what has occurred (anagnorisis). The tragedy of fate is a play in which an individual is disgraced by either his actions or by the will of
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