Comparing Kings In The Epic Of Gilgamesh And The Bible

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Much of ancient literature involves the concept of what makes a good king. Most of these old stories feature one or more kings, which can be separated into good and bad kings. Good things happen to the nations of good kings, and bad things to the nations of bad kings. Generally, there is one king figure that is the focus of the story, while all others are less important. In the Bible, the obvious main king figure is God, making it markedly different from most other ancient literature, where the main king figure is a human king. However, his exalted and powerful nature do not necessarily make him a better ruler. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Oedipus all feature kings that either are good or become good, whereas the Bible features a god "king" that is a far worse king than those of the previously mentioned stories. The oldest know literary work, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is the story of a king of the city Uruk. Gilgamesh, the aforementioned king, is a terrible king at the beginning. He “leaves no virgin for her lover,” and “sounds the tocsin for his amusement (Gilgamesh, 13).” However, the gods send Enkidu to give him a friend and make him a good king. Gilgamesh and Enkidu go two adventures, and at the end of the second one Enkidu dies. Gilgamesh wanders the desert mourning for his friend,…show more content…
Beowulf is only a prince at the beginning, but he gets permission from his king to travels across the sea to defeat a creature that has been terrorizing the mead-hall of another kingdom. He does so, and then is forced to face the beast’s yet-more-powerful mother. He successfully bests both of these foes in fair combat, is celebrated by the kingdom he saved, and returns home. When his father dies, he becomes king, and rules the kingdom well. Many years later, the kingdom is attacked by a dragon, which he defeats, but dies in doing so. His people then hold a grandiose funeral for him. He is an exemplary “good”

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