Contrast The Epic of Gilgamesh With The Avatar Film

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A path is primarily portrayed and characterized by an individual's affliction and prowess. The way an individual overcomes tragedy offers an ideal forum for portraying the journey. The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Avatar film are two distinct epic tales that depict close and conflicting encounters shared by the lead characters Gilgamesh and Jake during their respective journeys (Johns-Putra 218). The two books are set in various eras, with the characters focusing on their own personal journey. Jake demonstrated a spirited and courageous approach to facing adversity in Avatar. Gilgamesh, on the other hand, exhibited a very strict approach to dealing with his afflictions. Although both Jake and Gilgamesh are focused on a personal quest, the obstacles and relationships formed throughout their tales are what make their journeys unique.

As a typical human being, Jake had a job and wanted an expensive surgical operation to cure his crippled legs. He, however, reassesses his values when he met a Na'vi known as Neytiri in Pandora. Additionally, when he arrives in Pandora, Jake notices that the Na'vi lived in perfect harmony with every aspect of nature (Fitzpatrick et al. 13). Unlike earthlings, the Na'vi considered every creature equal to them. Jake appraises his values and beliefs of life, and his journey becomes apparent when many woodsprites lay on him, interpreting as a vital sign from Eywa. This fact represented the gods' involvement in Jake's quest. Gilgamesh's story is similar to Jake when he transformed from a warrior to a faithful friend after meeting Enkidu. It becomes apparent that Enkidu reveals the real qualities of Gilgamesh such as love and compassion during their journey created by the gods for his divine intervention. As self-centered as he was in his god-like structure, Gilgamesh starts minding other people due to love. His love is evident when he wants to bring the flower which brings youthfulness to old people to his land (Johns-Putra 220). However, the gods' involvement, in this case, was rather unseen unlike Jake and the woodsprites.

The two epic stories showcased Jake and Gilgamesh as a great leader who overcomes their adversities and setbacks in their journey. Heroism, companionship, love and war further typify the differences and similarities between Jake and Gilgamesh. Being Lionhearted and fiendish Warriors, Jake and Gilgamesh met real friends who led them in reevaluating their values and adjusting their notion of love, death, and life in general (Clay, Albert Tobias and Morris Jastrow 12). In the Avatar film, meeting the Na'vi and Neytiri changed Jake's perception of life. He is astonished after learning the way the Na'vi coexisted with nature. Although the primary objective of his journey to Pandora was to harvest the mineral unobtanium, his endeavors and affection towards Neytiri and the Na'vi altered the way he thinks, and this is why he fights against the humans. Gilgamesh's love for Enkidu changed his perception towards life. He developed human-like qualities and expressed love as well as compassion for others (Browning 53). In their quest, both Jake and Gilgamesh fought people that they previously were on the same side. Due to his love and compassion, Jake fights against the human beings preventing them from destroying Pandora. The same case happened to Gilgamesh. Driven by love and companion, Gilgamesh fights against the gods and goddesses (Browning 55). The animosity between him and the gods resulted in the death of Enkidu as a punishment for killing the Bull of Heaven (Browning 56). Neytiri was willing to fight for Jake, even when some of her tribe leaders were against Jake. On the other hand, Enkidu undertook the journey to Cedar Mountain and was willing to confront any adversity alongside Gilgamesh.

In the two epics, both Jake and Gilgamesh depict acts of heroism in during their experience. Jake fought with the Omaticayan against the human. Unlike Gilgamesh who was already an influential leader, Jake became the appointed head of the Omaticayan after defeating human beings. Additionally, Jake portrays heroism when he sealed a bond and rode the Taruk Makto. This move led his enemies to view him as a hero. Moreover, from the Avatar film, Jake learns the ways of life of the Na'vi (Cameron). Moreover, within a short period of three months, he learns skills which the natives were trying to learn since birth such as sealing a bond with the Taruk Makto, bonding and riding with birds. On the other hand, Gilgamesh as a hero defeated Humbaba with Enkidu during their journey to Cedar Mountain. Additionally, Gilgamesh defeated and killed the Bull of Heaven which was sent to punish him by the gods. In their heroism acts, both Jake and Gilgamesh showed credence and expressed a lot of confidence in their endeavors (Clay, Albert Tobias and Morris Jastrow 24).

Brave as he is, and a god-like warrior, Gilgamesh abused his power by being dreadfully cruel. The literature work described him as a heinous leader who raped women and spread terror via killing people. He was already in the authority which gave him an opportunity to execute his evil works and initiated wars for personal gains. On the other hand, Jake, a human being, developed into something different (Fitzpatrick et al. 32). James Cameron depicts Jake, just like Gilgamesh, a brave warrior, but a former a Marine whose legs are crippled. After becoming the leader of the Omaticayan, he was willing to work with others, and he utilized his power well where his deeds render him a legend after defeating the Earthlings.

The two stories are from extremely different periods, but the deeds by the two main characters have a lot of similarities. However, apparent differences appear between the two characters during their quest.

Work Cited

Avatar. Dir. James Cameron. 20th Century Fox, 2009. Film.

Browning, Gerald. “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies 11.2 (2014): 53–62. Web.

Clay, Albert Tobias and Morris Jastrow. An Old Babylonian Version Of The Gilgamesh Epic. 1st ed., Dinslaken, Anboco, 2016,.

Fitzpatrick, Lisa, et al. The Art of Avatar: James Cameron’s Epic Adventure. New York: Abrams, Harry N., 2009. Print.

Johns-Putra, A. "Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With The Ancient Epic". English, vol 62, no. 237, 2013, pp. 218-220. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/english/eft012.

December 15, 2021



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