Epic Poetry

Quote: "What makes one heroic? - - Going out to meet at the same time one's highest suffering and one's highest hope." - Nietzsche

    One is heroic if he is brave, strong, caring, and clever. An epic hero is someone who goes on a dangerous journey and meets obstacles along the way that he has to overcome. An example of an epic hero is shown in the two epic poems, "Gilgamesh" and "The Odyssey."

    Gilgamesh is two-thirds a god and one-third a man. He is also the king of Uruk. In the beginning, Gilgamesh takes whatever he wants, such as the virginity of other people's brides. But he changes into a better person when he meets his other half, Enkidu. Because of Gilgamesh, Enkidu also changes, from a wild man to a civilized man. Together, they venture out to the Cedar Forest, which is forbidden to mortals and is guarded by the demon guardian, Huwawa. Gilgamesh and Enkidu decide to kill Huwawa, so that the city would admire them for their strength. During their trip to Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh becomes fearful, but he continues on, when Enkidu comforts him. They were both successful in defeating Huwawa.

    The goddess Ishtar sends down the Bull of Heaven as revenge to Gilgamesh for rejecting her. Many people died as a result. To protect their city, Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight the bull together. The city celebrates their victory, but the gods are angry. As punishment, the gods decides that Enkidu must die. (SparkNotes)

    Enkidu's death filled Gilgamesh with sorrow. Everyone mourned for him, such as the animals of the wilderness, farmers and priests of the city, and the prostitute that seduced Enkidu.

    Gilgamesh set out on another journey by himself to seek for immortality. He faced the difficulties of going through the mountain and crossing the Waters of Death. Gilgamesh was given a challenge of staying awake for seven days before becoming immortal. He failed to accomplish the challenge, but he was able to obtain a plant that could turn an old...