Comparison of Gilgamesh and Ramayana

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The Epic Heroism of Rama and Gilgamesh

The two pieces of literary works, The Epic of Ramayana and Gilgamesh, both revolve around an epic hero also the main character. The main characters have many qualities in common hence classified as the ideal epic hero. Both Rama and Gilgamesh are epic heroes, but in different ways for instance for a character to be a perfect epic hero he must go for adventure and show some heroic qualities in the process. Rama is known to be the reincarnation of Vishnu, the preservation god of Hindus while Gilgamesh, on the other hand, is known to be composed of two-thirds god. Since the two characters exhibit the qualities of gods, they qualify to be regarded as epic heroes. Rama and Gilgamesh are comparable epic heroes since they travel long distances where they engage in fights with demons, monsters, and defeat them.

Rama's Adventures

In Gilgamesh epic, Enkidu accompanies Gilgamesh to the forest where they defeat Humbaba (guarding the forest) after engaging in a fight. Later after Enkidu's death Gilgamesh journeys in the search for immortality, but then realizes that his search for immortality cannot be actualized (Moseley 65). Rama, on the hand, travels after being banished by his father to the forest. His adventure is however seen when Rama goes to Ravana's island where he (helped by others) fights and defeats the demon king, Ravana and rescues his captivated wife, Sita (Narayan n.d). Rama demonstrates his heroism by how he handled himself when he was harshly commanded to reside in the forest for fourteen years. Rama was unaffected upon realizing his father had crowned Bharata to take the throne while at the same banishing him to the forest for fourteen years. He, however, resorts in explaining to everyone who is against the banishment that he must respect and to happily follow his father's commands.

Gilgamesh's Epic Journey

Gilgamesh and Rama display the characteristics considered at their time as heroic qualities and are, therefore, regarded as epic heroes. For example Gilgamesh, due to his strong and courageous nature, he is partly a god, kills the innocent beast for glory, and mistreats women so badly. These qualities exhibited by Gilgamesh exemplify an ideal epic hero as defined by the culture of his time era (Moseley 63). Rama, on the other hand, embodies the time through faithfulness to Dharma; a vital part of the Hindu religion (Narayan n.d). His respect for other people is also exemplified through his friendship with Enkidu.

The Unique Heroism of Rama

In contrast to the normal heroic attributes of Gilgamesh, Rama's epic heroism is unique as he does not only demonstrate power but nobility and obedience. For instance, he does not engage in fights with mighty beasts to save the day as seen by other typical epic heroes. He hence displays qualities which everybody is endeavoring for in day to day life. Secondly, his nobility and obedience are seen on how he handles himself immediately after being banished by his father to the forest. He does not argue or raise any concern when unfairly sent out of the land he is supposed to rule over, he, however, goes obediently and willingly, showing his respect for the command given to him. Another quality of Rama is nobility; this features prominently when he honors the Dharma by failing to kill an unarmed opponent Ravana when he has the chance to do so. He, however, tells Ravana to come the next day entirely fresh (Narayan n.d).

Gilgamesh's Journey to Wisdom

On the other hand, Gilgamesh journeyed after Enkidu's death in search for immortality this made him be an ideal epic hero since he grew much wiser and stronger, though comparably he did not handle the disastrous event like Rama. As the journey began, Gilgamesh was afraid of death. Additionally, he was so doubtful about what to engage in with his short life. But immediately after encountering Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh learned that what is so paramount in life is to live happily and joyfully and never to be afraid of death. At the end of his adventurous journey, Gilgamesh returned to Uruk more brilliant and a wiser leader and was warmly welcomed back and celebrated by his people for the rest of his life (Moseley 74).

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Rama and Gilgamesh are famous epic heroes who are still presently celebrated and cherished.

Works Cited

Moseley, Merritt. "The Epic of Gilgamesh."The Hero's Journey(2009): 63.

Narayan, Rasipuram Krishnaswami. The Ramayana: a shortened modern prose version of the Indian epic. Penguin, 2006.

November 24, 2023

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