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Comparing and contrasting two stories can actually be quite interesting. It shows how characters are similar and different from one another, and it can show how the plots are similar and different. When it comes to comparing and contrasting two stories, it is usually easier to compare certain aspects than it is to contrast. Sometimes, authors are inspired by stories to write their own, which is why you can find similarities, but also some differences, between the Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh. One main detail that can be pointed out when comparing is who Gilgamesh and Odyseuss are.
Odyseuss was the king of Ithaca. Gilgamesh was also an ancient king. Odysseuss shows several examples of being a strong person. An example of Odyseuss being strong is when he said, “I long to reach my home… It is my ever-failing wish.” Throughout the novel, Odysseus got distracted. There were times he wanted to stay at certain lands he had visited. Odysseuss also came across mythical creatures like the cyclops, for example. However, he wanted to get home to Penelope, and he fought through. Gilgamesh was also a strong person. In the story, it is stated that, “Gilgamesh was called a god and a man” Gilgamesh was half god, half human. By him being called a god, considering he was part god, Gilgamesh was most likely a strong leader. This is also how Gilgamesh and Odysseus are alike.
Odyseuss would always hang around the gods and act as if he were one. Gilgamesh, being part god, didn’t really brag about it, but still shows those traits as the story goes on. Another example of how Gilgamesh and Odysseuss are alike is their confidence. Since Gilgamesh was part god, he is seen as stronger than Odysseuss, but was very confident when fighting the Trojan War. That confidence is what kept Odysseuss alive and able to go home to Penelope. Gilgamesh was also very confident, which is why he was chosen to be king. Although there are many elements that can be compared in both Odysseus and Gilgamesh, there are some differences as well.
Even though Odyseuss and Gilgamesh have a lot in common, they are also very different characters. Gilgamesh can be seen as a selfish character depending on how you look at it. An example of him being selfish is when the narrator says, “He walks around in the enclosure of Uruk, like a wild bull he makes himself mighty, head raised” This quote shows that Gilgamesh can be very arrogant. Also, in the story, Gilgamesh just wanted attention, as if being king wasn’t enough for him. In the story, Gilgamesh did hardly anything to care for or protect those he should watch over. He would kill people that he should’ve been looking out for. Unlike Gilgamesh, Odyseuss wasn’t nearly as selfish as Gilgamesh. Yes, Odyseuss did always hang around the gods, but he respected and watched out for his subjects. He would do anything he could to protect the citizens of his home, Ithaca. That is why he went to war in the first place. By looking at this comparison, people might think Gilgamesh is a bad person. He is not necessarily a bad person, but a bad leader and influence on the people he rules over.
Aside from the previously stated comparisons, there are other ways Gilgamesh and Odyseuss can be compared. Gilgamesh and Odyseuss both make mistakes. Gilgamesh, as mentioned before, was a terrible leader. He didn’t give much respect to the people he ruled over, and he wasn’t that great of a person. Odyseuss also made mistakes. There were times when Odyseuss would be with Calypso and he wanted to stay. Eventually, he came to and realized that where he needed to be home with Penelope and Telemachus. Overall, when comparing the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, we see similarities and differences between Gilgamesh and Odyseuss. By Homer and the author of the Epic of Gilgamesh writing similar stories, we are able to see more similarities than differences. This makes it more entertaining for readers as they could point these comparisons out. By taking the time to compare two stories, it really does show how similar and how different two main characters appear in a novel.
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