Comparing Gilgamesh And The Odyssey

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Literary Analysis Essay 1 – The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey Who doesn’t love a good tale with the elements of a hero, a quest filled with trials, and a good ending? The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey bring all of those elements into play throughout their stories, adding in a few elements not quite as common, but no doubt enthralling and captivating to their audience. These literary epics introduce us to quests besought with trials and tribulations that could easily make the heroes surrender and lose courage. Though Gilgamesh and Odysseus share similarities as love catapults them both into forward motion, they also share many differences that separate them as individuals. These tales each offer hope to the audience which will ultimately…show more content…
During his journey home to his wife Penelope, Odysseus encounters various obstacles which hinder his return. The trials and tribulations Odysseus experiences range from being held captive by the infatuated sea nymph Calypso, to facing retribution from Poseidon for blinding his son, Polyphemus. It seemed at times that he would never make it home; however, the thought of his wife remained constant at the forefront of his journey, “All the survivors, all who avoided headlong death were safe at home, escaped the wars and waves. But one man alone…His heart set on his wife and his return (Homer 152).” In book 7, not contained in our literature, Odysseus never strays from his love for Penelope, even with the promise of immortality from Calypso, “[…] the gods brought me to the island Ogygia, where Calypso lives, with ordered hair, a dread goddess, and she received me and loved me excessively and cared for me, and she promised to make me an immortal and all my days to be ageless, but never so could she win over the heart within me (Homer).” Throughout the entirety of his journey, the only thing Odysseus sought out and desired was the knowledge of how to return home to his wife, Penelope, and his only son, Telemachus, “I had to venture down to the House of Death, to consult the shade of Tiresias, seer of Thebes… (Homer 189).” Odysseus knew his journey would be complicated, due to his blinding the Cyclopes…show more content…
As referenced previously, Calypso promises Odysseus immortality if he would just become her husband. However, in book 5 he denies her, claiming she will never have his heart, “Him she found sitting on the shore, and his eyes were never dry of tears, and his sweet life was ebbing away, as he longed mournfully for his return, for the nymph was no longer pleasing in his sight. By night indeed he would sleep by her side perforce (Homer)”. Odysseus was also of a very strong and cunning mind. In book nine, he was faced with imminent death, as he and his finest men were trapped with Polyphemus, the Cyclopes. Odysseus, upon seeing two of his men slain and eaten, realized that if he didn't think and act quickly, the same fate was sealed for him and the remainder of his men. Looking about, he devised a plan to blind the Cyclops. He knew, that once injured, the beast would scream and name his attackers; therefore, Odysseus gave his name as “Nobody (Homer 180)”. This misnomer insured Polyphemus would be unable to properly name his assailants. A clever one, Odysseus

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