Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus.

  • Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus. Write an essay comparing these two (2) heroic figures from ancient epics of different cultures, especially focusing your analysis on the sources about their encounters with monsters: Gilgamesh encounters the monster guarding the forest, Humbaba, in Tablets 3-5 of the Epic of Gilgamesh (see http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/; scroll down to the Tablet links; think of “Tablet” numbers like chapter numbers).” Odysseus encounters Polyphemus the Cyclops in Book 9 of The Odyssey (see http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerOdyssey9.html; from line 105 to the end). Your paper should:

a) Compare Gilgamesh and Odysseus as to their heroic qualities, noting similarities and differences, using specific examples from the epics.

b) Summarize what this indicates about differences between ancient Mesopotamian and Greek cultures in their ideals and expectations.

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c) From this comparison, suggest ways that current cultural ideals and expectations shape modern notions about role models and heroes.

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