Beowulf and Gilgamesh
Monsters, timeless tales, heroes, and villains. All of these are factors of the epic tales of "Beowulf" and "Gilgamesh". These stories have a profound meaning to the people of England, just as the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" have a deep meaning to the ancient people of Greece. We will explore the varied similarities and the differences that both these epic stories contain.
Both "Beowulf" and "Gilgamesh" have several similarities. For example, both Beowulf and Gilgamesh battle a monster. In Beowulf's case, he battles a monster called Grendel. Gilgamesh, battles a monster by the name of Humbaba. However, Beowulf, unlike Gilgamesh, fights several monsters just for the sake of fighting. "I drove five great giants into chains, chased all that race from the earth. I swam in the blackness of night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one; death is my errand and the fate they have earned "(Lines 154-159, 25). Beowulf is a true warrior who lives to do battle with foes, both human and un-human. Gilgamesh was put into a position to fight a monster, he never sought out an enemy, just to slay them.
Similarity after similarity can be found in "Beowulf" and "Gilgamesh". Another trait that these two heroes have in common is an odd one. They both display the dismembered body parts of the monsters they battled. "The victory, for the proof, hanging high from the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster's arm, claw, and shoulder and all" (Lines 515-517, 35). Gilgamesh did something similar to that of "Beowulf". "And late that night he reached again to see if he was yet asleep, but there was only quiet breathing. The stars against the midnight sky were sparking like mica in a riverbed. In the slight breeze the head of Humbaba was swinging from a tree" (Lines 50-55, 54). Despite the many similarities, there were differences in the way that they conducted themselves in combat. Beowulf, unlike Gilgamesh, did not use a weapon to...