Civilizations And Heroism In The Epic Poems Of Gilgamesh And Beowulf

948 words - 4 pages


Heroism is a theme that has appeared throughout history in the literature of different civilizations. Heroes represent the principles and ideals associated with the varying morals of each individual society. The literature of Mesopotamia and Western Europe is a prime example of this. Beowulf, an Anglo-Germanic tale and The Epic of Gilgamesh, of the Sumerians, demonstrate perfectly, the ability of civilizations to convey the values and customs of their society through their literature.
The setting for Beowulf is Scandinavia, before the time Christianity had spread its course. Beowulf, the title character is the hero in this tale. He possesses many of the typical heroic traits such as strength, courage, loyalty and the ability to conquer evil. A “superhero,” by today’s standards, Beowulf proves these characteristics in the confrontations he has during this legend. His strength is said to be that of thirty men. Beowulf is confident about his strength, not hesitating to boast of his accomplishments. Even to Hrothgar, the king, he tells of his great victory in a swimming match. Beowulf encounters monsters many times his size. The great courage that he possesses allows him to fight them with an enormous amount of confidence. Grendel and Grendel’s mother are slain by Beowulf. The dragon, although is dies, also mortally wounds the always confident Beowulf. Regardless of who Beowulf battles, his courage is a major force in his numerous victories. The last of Beowulf’s qualities, and possibly the most important is his loyalty. Beowulf’s loyalty is always on the side of good. He aligns himself with this side, which happens to be Hrothgar, and the people in which Beowulf rules over when he becomes king. Beowulf’s Loyalty extends to the point of risking his own life numerous times. He battles Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. He knowingly risks his life while never backing out of the commitments he made, even when death is inevitable. The heroic traits of Beowulf allow him to achieve the great feats, which he accomplishes in this legend.
The character of Beowulf exemplifies the Anglo-Germanic cultural values of a hero. He consistently displays what is of importance morally to this civilization. To this group of people, courage, strength and loyalty were the most important aspects of their culture. Beowulf fights the monster Grendel, knowing that he must do it without any weapons. This kind of strength is strived for by the Anglo-Germanic people. Fighting the mother of Grendel and the dragon, basically by himself, show how courageous of a man he was. Beowulf is loyal to his people as well. As a king,...

Find Another Essay On Civilizations and Heroism in the Epic Poems of Gilgamesh and Beowulf

"The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Homer's "Odyssey". For both texts, comparison of the the cultural value,"heroism"

912 words - 4 pages In this essay I am going to deal with the two epic texts called: "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and Homer's "Odyssey". For both texts, I will discuss the cultural value of "heroism"In order to make a good analysis of both texts we have to know what "Epic" means. Webster's defines it as "a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style" (Webster's Universal College

Heroism displayed in the epic novel of BEOWULF and Sir Gawain. This essay compares and contrasts these two characters and defines what makes a true hero

1116 words - 4 pages Beowulf was written in the eighth century by monks. The word Beowulf means bee-hunter. It was the first book ever written. The Norse tale is principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero in this epic for he is able to conquer his obstacles due to his super-human physical strength, determination and courage.Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through

Use of Heroism in Epic Poems found in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1286 words - 6 pages The development of a hero always follows the same type of pattern and structure in epic poems. This characterization of heroes as valiant figures and has progressed through time to create a solid reference point on what a true hero should be. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald is able to utilize these key components to mock Gatsby’s heroism. This creates an ironic image of Gatsby because his seemingly grandiose actions are incomparable to the acts

This is a literary review of the epic poem Gilgamesh. This essay ties the story of Gilgamesh into the definition of heroism

842 words - 3 pages heroes are defined in so many ways. Anyone can be a hero, from fire fighters to absolute best friends. As criteria for any epic story a hero must be involved as some major part of the story. In the epic poem Gilgamesh, there are two main characters that are heroes at one time.A hero is someone who tries to help everyone they can. A hero will do everything in his or her own power to help out another person. Heroes do not need to be beautiful by

Beowulf vs. Gilgamesh as Epic Heroes

1019 words - 4 pages at the forefront and shines above the rest. During these two time periods there stood two great men: Gilgamesh, the selfish, lustful king, and Beowulf the proud and boastful warrior. These two men, both powerful and well-respected, embody the true essence of what it means to be an epic hero. Gilgamesh’s lifestyle and rash decisions make him the perfect candidate for a life lesson by the gods. Beowulf and his boastful nature ultimately lead him to

Imagery and Themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh

1399 words - 6 pages transgressions are swept away (with most of the population) and they are reborn into a fresh, new world and relationship with the gods. Ark - the symbol of the gods' love of the humans and their interest in preserving the human race. We also identified five themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh: Conflict between chaos and order, represented by nature and civilization; Man's quest for immortality and knowledge; Dealing with loss; Male bonding/brotherhood; Heroism (man's victory over nature).

Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh

809 words - 3 pages Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh Abstract: The most interesting stories invariably are about love and death. These two themes underlie the Epic of Gilgamesh, a mythic tale of the quest for immortality. Gilgamesh, profoundly affected by the death of his friend Enkidu at the hands of the gods, questions the injustice of life. Finding no answer, he of course tries to change—indeed, eliminate—the question by seeking immortality. The

Love in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis

1222 words - 5 pages At an early point in history, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Genesis were two texts that set the framework of the entire world. They were two epics that established the foundations of religion, literature, and all other standards that were followed by every category of people. Both texts entice the audience through antique language, and the stories of epic heroes and immortal gods. Sin-Leqi-Unninni and the many writers of the Bible

Accuracy in Epic of Gilgamesh and the Holy Bible

1421 words - 6 pages Accuracy in The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible There is much debate over the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Even further, yet address less frequently is the importance of discerning this accuracy. Some claim that to understand a work of literature requires extensive knowledge of the background of this work. The contrary position is that a work of literature can be interpreted solely on it’s

Comparing Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh

1466 words - 6 pages the beginnings of their religious scripture, Genesis and Exodus, the first two parts of the Bible. Though set in different times, by different authors, for different beliefs and cultures, there are many evident parallels between The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible. The Bible borrowed many stories from The Epic of Gilgamesh to explain the events of the time before its writing. The well known tale of Adam and Eve has similarities with the epic

Epic of gilgamesh and the bibl

1368 words - 5 pages suffering. Such relations are extremely clear in both The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Bible. This paper will discuss the general theme of these books as well as related philosophical questions to help the reader acquire an understanding of the relationship between wisdom and suffering In The Bible, God creates Adam and Eve to till and watch over the beautiful land that he has created. In return for their obedience, he grants them everlasting life

Similar Essays

Heroism In Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

948 words - 4 pages Heroism in Gilgamesh   Heroism entails several things; a selfless act, courage, or the accomplishments of bold and daring expeditions. A hero can often be of divine ancestry. But every hero has faults and these faults along with heroic deeds make the man, or woman; a hero. Gilgamesh loved his friend Enkidu more than he loved himself. A phrase indicating this love for Enkidu is on page 35: "We must go down into the forest together

This Essay Is Based On Heroism Found In The Epic Poems "Beowulf" And "Sir Gawain And The "Green Knight"

1186 words - 5 pages In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Beowulf," we encounter single heroic men, under a great king on an adventurous quest for recognition, and honor. Hard to imagine that though so much alike, they differ in category. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," contains very similar aspects of an epic poem, which creates vast similarities between sir Gawain and Beowulf. Both of the famous writings entwine lineage, the warrior code, and mysticism to

Women In The Epic Of Beowulf And In Other Anglo Saxon Poems

2034 words - 8 pages The Women in Beowulf and in Other Anglo-Saxon Poems             Are women in these poems active equals of the men? Or are they passive victims of the men? The roles of the women in Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poems are not always stereotyped ones of passive homemaker and childbearer and peaceweaver, but sometimes ones giving freedom of choice, range of activity, and room for personal growth and development. Beowulf makes reference

The Epic Of Gilgamesh Versus The Epic Of Beowulf

1142 words - 5 pages surviving epic poem written in a modern European language. It was written in Old English sometime before the tenth century A.D. The poem describes the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. Beowulf is described as a perfect hero who fights for his people and gets rid of evil with his extraordinary abilities to bring peace and justice. Unlike Beowulf, The Epic of Gilgamesh was one of the first pieces of literature known