TheOdysseyand TheEpic of Gilgameshdenote the two examples of epic literature derived from the ancienthistory that seeks to point out the concept of man’s mortality andimmortality. It is believed that TheOdysseywas composed approximately 700 BC while TheEpic of Gilgameshwas written down roughly around 3000 BC. In the modern life,individuals perceive medical science as the only hope for achievingimmortality. Many years ago, persons were seeking the Fountain ofYouth which is connected to TheEpic of Gilgamesh.Initially, people used to view magic or grants of immortality fromthe gods. This makes it interesting on the manner in which someelements of what it means to be human remains unchanged. This workwill seek to bring out the comparison between Gilgamesh and Odysseusin regards to immortality and mortality through using the appropriatequotes from the two pieces of literature as the supporting evidence.
Inthe poem of Gilgamesh, death and immortality have been a criticalissue for different women and men throughout the history. In life,genuine love and immortality would be a dream which has turned into areality to many individuals. Spending quality time with somebodyclose to you and never have to say goodbye would be the biggest dreamto many persons (Homer 2016). However, when death is in the picture,regardless of the devastation and pain, persons starts re-evaluatingthemselves. Drawing our understanding from the two plots, theyexamine man’s life as the journey of self-discovery which becomesthe central topic of discussion in their stories.
Forinstance, Gilgamesh sightsees the possibility of immortality afterthe paining death of his pal and brother, Enkidu. Through the desirefor the immortal life in TheEpic of Gilgamesh,Gilgamesh mourns for days, loses focus, lost in thoughts, and immensesadness as he laments the loss of his friend Enkidu for several days.“Me Will I too not die like Enkidu. Sorrow has come into my belly.I fear death…” (Von 2016). This quote paints the clear pictureof the current state of bereavement by Gilgamesh. Consequently, hebecame so afraid of the death which resulted in losing his respect asa warrior to attain immortality. He gives room for his mortal side toshape away his power following the death of Enkidu. He concludesthat, the immortality power is not meant for the gods and not humans.This notion is supported by Penelope in TheOdysseywhen she says to Odysseus that, “Men’s lives are short.”Additionally, man’s mortality is seen in the encounter betweenOdysseus and Calypso. For instance, when Hermes enlightens Calypsothat she is obligated to direct Odysseus on his path by Zeus, sheinforms Odysseus that he, “need grieve no more [he] need not feel[his] life consumed.” (Homer 2016). These two quotes implies that aman’s life is limited and that one day it will ultimately bedestroyed and turned off.
Nonetheless,Hermes entreats Calypso to remain with her and provides him withimmortality she also reminds him of the significant dissimilarityamong the two of them and that if her intervention is withdrawn, hewill in the end die. After being asked about his mortal wifePenelope, Odysseus affirms that death and old age are unheard of tothe gods and that Penelope will grow old and die one day just likethe immortals do (Homer 2016). In both TheOdysseyand TheEpic of Gilgamesh,each is aware that he will finally die however, there are loopholes.Life can be prolonged with the aid of the gods. When Odysseus liveswith Calypso, he will last forever and that he will be immortal,however, if he abandons her, he will get old (Homer 2016). This isnot a real immortality but a prolonged life. Therefore, the gods arebelieved to delay the fate of a man but cannot change it. In TheEpic of Gilgamesh,Utnapishtim is perceived to be immortal but acquires the degree ofimmortality by eating the plant that makes him remain young (Von2016). Genuine immortality is dominated by the gods only, despite thedesires for a man to live forever he cannot evade his mortality.
Fromthese two works, it is now clear that life is so amazing because ofthe finer things in life, unlike the eternal life. From the variousquotes and instances pointed above, eternal life is not a guaranteesince one will eventually die one day and that only the gods havepower over the immortality (Von 2016). Therefore, Life should bevalued by filling our bellies with noble things by being merry,dancing, feasting as well as celebrating. This is because being aliveand spending adequate time with special people is more valuable thanlording it over all of the shattered dead.
Tosum it up, Gilgamesh and Odysseus are two heroes coming from twodistinct periods that were both in the quest for the meaning of life.It is important to note that the poems of the two characters arehighlighted in Gilgamesh, was discovered from early Mesopotamia whileOdyssey at the beginning of Greece. The two characters are strongwarriors full of complete physical appearance and intimidation. Theyare constantly encountered with death and the cosmos. They arebelieved to be heroic although they are not supernatural in as muchas they are in contact with the supernatural. There are struggleswith devastating difficulties while they struggle for self-discoveryand the goal of being immortal. Both works have affirmed thatimmortality is reserved for the gods only and that extension of lifeis not a true immortality. Every man has a fate, and that one day hewill eventually die.
Homer.(2016). TheOdyssey.Lanham: Dancing Unicorn Books.
VonRhein, J. (2016). The Epic of Gilgamesh (Midwest premiere). AmericanRecord Guide, 79(5),33-37.