The Concept of the Hero in Gilgamesh and Odysseus and Hamlet

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It is indeed, throughout the semester, we have encountered a number of heroes of the ancient world each one having something special. Those individuals were regarded as epic heroes not only because they are strong but also because they possesses divine endowment that make them act or make decisions that appear to be divinely inspired. Those individuals also were warriors who encounter difficulty situations or deadly natural calamities in their adventures but survive and returns to normal life regardless the problems they may face.

In this short essay I will focus on only on three of the heroes namely Gilgamesh, Odyssey, and Hamlet. These characters or heroes were admired very much for what they did in their society.

Gilgamesh, Odyssey and Hamlet. Gilgamesh, Odyssey, and Hamlet were considered to have qualities of the great heroes at all times even though they lived at different times and places. They all were blessed to have divine endowment or at least encounter with some kind of spiritual power of the other world, who inspired to do something brave.

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For instance, Hamlet was visited by the Ghost of his father who encouraged him to revenge against Claudia who was evil and a murderer. Hamlet was inspired by the ghost to face the king for the evil he did to his own brother. Gilgamesh was two thirds god and one thirds human. His mother was the famous goddess Ninsun. This made him superhuman with great physical and spiritual strength. Odysseus was assisted by the goddess Athena daughter of Zeus.

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He was blessed with great intelligence than the people that he led. Hamlet on other hand he was also prince and a hero in his own right. He was not super human but we know he was good fighter. Gilgamesh and Odysseus, and Hamlet all encountered overwhelming difficulties situations.

Gilgamesh dealt with dangerous tasks, with the help of his friend Enkidu, he confronted and kill dangerous forest beast, Humbaba, the guardian of the sacred Cedar Forest to make a name for himself and get an access for trees to building houses in his kingdom. Gilgamesh also challenged the gods when he killed the Bulls of Heaven. Gilgamesh also made a dangerous journey to get the secret of immortality. Gilgamesh neutralized Enkidu wild-like man to a godlike human by sending a prostitute to sleep with Enkidu. After a few fights, Gilgamesh and Enkidu became best partners and shared many adventures such as killing Humbaba the forest giant. One interesting thing about all these three heroes, Gilgamesh, Odysseus and Hamlet were not immune to making mistakes. Having divine endowments did not help. Gilgamesh was two thirds God and a part human. All three were great heroes had great strengths but also had their own human weaknesses. Gilgamesh had strengths but luck kindness and justices. He was hated by his people even though he was feared. He raped the daughters and wives of his own citizens.

Odysseus was clever and eloquence that helped him in difficulty times but he was a good liar or shrewd which he used in many situations. Hamlet was not carefully enough to follow the Ghosts message of hate to kill his uncle Claudia, even though it may seem a justifiable thing to do, to have a revenge for those who do bad things to loved ones. But we see that at the end he himself died out of these revenge. When he was returning home from Trojan War, Odysseus encountered big obstacles. In the land of the Cyclopes and his men were trapped in a cave and he had to think quick how to escape. He tricked and blinds the Cyclops Polyphemus and saved his crew from certain death. He also disguised his mean as sheep so that Polyphemus would unknowingly let them out of his cave. Odysseus was courageous leader during the time of danger caused by Scylla and Circe. Odysseus heard and survived the deadly sirens by ordering his men to plug wax into their ears to stop them from hearing the deadly sirens, but himself only asked his crew to tie him against the ship’s pole, Upon reaching Ithaca, he fight of all of Penelope’s suitors and reclaimed his rightful place as a king of Ithaca. Hamlet was hero for what he did to go after a murders leader who killed his father, the King and sized the crown and married the queen.

This story has important message to teach us in life even though it had a sad ending. Hamlet was a prince who sought a revenge against Claudia, the man who murdered his father, the King of Demark. The ghost of the king Hamlet told his son that he was killed by his uncle, Claudius the new King who sized the crown and married his widow. The ghost asked Hamlet to kill Claudius for a revenge. After giving some thoughts, Hamlet agreed to do the job. Unfortunately his uncle Claudius knew the plan and he also planned to kill Hamlet. The story ends with sadness, the King, the Queen, Hamlet’s enemy and himself were all killed. This story is about vengeance and honor. Some people may say that Hamlet was a good son and hero and morally was right to defend the honor of his father by killing his uncle Claudius who took the life of his own brother. Killing his uncle, Hamlet was an act of stopping greed and a bad man who was about to get away with murder.

For me I see Hamlet as an a tragic hero, he was clever, brave, and loyal, yet one of his biggest flaws was that he was too loyal, he could not get over his father’s death. He wanted vengeance, but at the ends the vengeance killed him too. Conclusion. To conclude I would say that Gilgamesh, Odysseus and Hamlet were heroes who lived in different times. They were all in search for the meaning of life. Some of the similarities and differences were the results of being born at different eras, types of problems they faced, and cultures. Gilgamesh and Odysseus were truly heroes who had confident of themselves and also have divine endowment that help them make decisions that appear to be divinely inspired. All the three characters embodied all the qualities of a hero. They have demonstrated the skills of brave warriors, intelligent leaders, and they were willing to die for their kingdoms.

The ‘Poems by Catullus’. This is a collection of several short poems about Catullus’ love for a woman he has lost. The poems tell about Catullus’s intimate emotions and thoughts towards his love for a woman he has lost. These poems indeed show a personal feels of bitterness of losing a loved one but the same time they show the lustiness of deep infatuation. In these poems Lesbia plays as the main lover of Catullus. She is the one woman who he really loves and at the same time he also hates Catullus clearly shows his passionate love for her in poems 5 and 7 which go through many stages of pain. When one reads these poems, he or she can hardly miss to feel the bitterness of Catullus of losing the one he loves and also knowing that he has been replaced by a rival. It is easy to understand his pure contempt for the woman who treated him so badly. I personally I believe that the woman that Catallus has written about in the collection is very undoubtedly lucky. I also find that the tastes of these poems are somewhat raw. They talk about things that majority of the general public may find them shocking. Catullus holds nothing back. His poems are very erotic and at some points obscene. I found that other poems are so heartrending it hurts. Despite all these, I think the poems contain the full spectrum of human emotion in a beautifully written form.

No.2 The Great Hymn to the Atens, The Great Hymn to the Aten is the longest of hymn-poem of all the hymn-poems that the sun-disk deity Aten has composed probably in the middle of the 14th century BC and it relates to the 18th dynasty Pharaoh Akhenaten, who brought a lot changes in the traditional forms of the Egyptian religion by replacing them with Atenism. Some of the main themes in this Hymn-poem include the absence of women is equal rights with men and the concept that God’s creation is divine. Certainly, one of the main purposes of the hymn-poem is to praise the sun god Aten from what the hymn says that when the sun sets, the earth is in darkness as if in death, but when sun rises, the people awaken and go out to work on the land. I believe that this was a religious song to worship Aten who sustains life in Egypt by providing the Egyptians with their daily human needs such as food. I like this poem very much, for me it is a song like a prayer for a person who is thankful to nature.

iii) Inferno in Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Inferno is the first section of the three parts of an epic poem titled “Divine Comedy” written by Dante Alighieri. It is about a fiction spiritual epic journey embarked by Dante the year 1300.The tale began when Dante fells in deep sleep and found himself travelling through a dark wood and get lost his path completely. He wandered through the forest very frightened trying to find his path. He saw the sun light shining down on a mountain when he followed he found that his way was blocked by three ferocious beasts, a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf. Dante returned to the dark wood where he met the ghost of Virgil, a great Roman poet. Virgil tells Dante that he was send by Beatrice his former girlfriend and two holy women to guide him back to his path but the path will take them through hell before reach heaven to meet beloved Beatrice who was waiting for Dante. The two began a series of travels. Dante and Virgil entered Hell and explored its nine circles.

In there they met several important biblical, historical and mythological figures who were part of the infernal population of punishers and suffers. Basically almost the whole poem is a critique of various famous figures from Dante’s time, and antiquity. Some of them were the people Dante himself admired them people like Homer, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan they are all in in Limbo. He saw people like Julius Caesar is there, and Saladin, who was decent and chivalrous. He also saw. Alexander the Great, but he is eternally boiling in Phlegethon, a river of blood in the 7th Circle. He mentioned about all lawyers being in hell, boiling in a sea of pitch. Dante saw the different kind of punishments that await people who disobeyed God during their earthly lives. He saw that hell is divided into nine chambers starting from less severe for lesser criminals (sinners) to the most severe chamber for serious sinners. At the bottom of the ninth chamber was the place he saw Lucifer the father of all sinners and Dante had to climb his huge body in order to return to earth. What I was awestruck the most is the graphic account of Hell given in such beautiful lyrical verses. Even the gruesome details of punishment of the sinners were made less horrific because the verses describing them were melodious. And the sinners, chosen from existed and existing people and some of the most loved mythical characters, added realism to the poem.

One of the interesting parts of the inferno is description of various sins and their punishments in hell. He described so well that no fiction wrote ever done that. He described that the 9 circles were constructed to look like those of the ancient Greek and Roman chambers. Dante mentioned names of real people who are in hell and the sins that sent them there. He even mentioned the popes and cardinals who are in hell. His freedom to write this way can give us some ideas the kind of world Dante was living during his time and his state of mind. Dante wrote this epic poem when he was in exile and there were many political upheaval in Florentine. In the poem Dante talked about his living a life of sin. He had strayed from the right path. Hence, this poem reflects the many problems that were happening in Dante’s time, personal, and political.

Dante in his epic poem received a number of praises and condemnations as well. Some scholars condemned Dante for speaking badly about Islam and its prophet Muhammad being in hell (Cantarino, 2007). He wrote how badly corrupted politicians, clergy, ordinary people, the scholars, and many others were. In the inferno, Dante explained the horrifying tortures that are awaiting bad people in hell (Clement, 2011).

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The Concept of the Hero in Gilgamesh and Odysseus and Hamlet. (2022, Jan 26). Retrieved from

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