The Epic of Gilgamesh and Beowulf are two of the most well-known works from ancient times. Though they come from different cultures and regions, there are many similarities between the two works. Both feature a heroic protagonist who goes on amazing adventures, faces seemingly insurmountable odds, and ultimately triumphs over evil. Additionally, both works feature elements of the supernatural, and both explore themes of loss, mortality, and grief.
While there are many similarities between these two epics, there are also some key differences. For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh is set in Mesopotamia, while Beowulf takes place in Scandinavia. Additionally, the protagonists of each epic have different motivations – while Gilgamesh is driven by a fear of death, Beowulf is motivated by his sense of duty and loyalty to his people. Ultimately, though, both works are examples of the power of storytelling, and the lasting impact that these stories have had on our culture.
Although Beowulf and Gilgamesh are unique in their own ways, the two epics share a connection. Gilgamesh, a long narrative poem written over five thousand years ago from Mesopotamia, now present day Iraq, is among the earliest known works of literature. Despite losing over a thousand words from its ancient text, it is still a great story about the protagonist—Gilgamesh king of Uruk.
He was two-thirds god and one-third man, making him immortal. The other main character in the story is Enkidu, who was once a wild beast that roamed the land until he met Gilgamesh. Together, they went on many adventures, fought many battles, and Enkidu even saved Gilgamesh’s life a couple of times. Beowulf on the other hand is an Anglo-Saxon heroic epic poem composed around the seventh century.
The author of the poem is unknown; however, it was passed down orally before being written down. It tells the story of Beowulf, a Geatish warrior who arrives in Scandinavia to help Hrothgar, king of the Danes, with a monster named Grendel who has been terrorizing his kingdom. Beowulf fights and defeats Grendel, but later Grendel’s mother comes seeking revenge. Beowulf once again is victorious and returns home to Geatland.
While these two works are vastly different, they share a few commonalities. Firstly, both works were written in different cultures and time periods; however, they were able to stand the test of time. Secondly, Gilgamesh and Beowulf are both great warriors who go on adventures and fight many battles. Lastly, they are both immortalized in their works of literature. In conclusion, while Beowulf and Gilgamesh may be different in many ways, they still have a lot in common.
Beowulf is a legendary poem about a famous Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century written in Old English. It is regarded by many to be the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and it is widely considered to be the oldest surviving epic in literature. Only one manuscript with Beowulf survived a fire in 1731, when Sir Robert Cotton added his name on the first page.
The epic poem tells the story of a young warrior, named Beowulf, who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of Denmark.
Hrothgar’s kingdom is constantly under attack by a monster named Grendel who seems to be immune to weapons. Beowulf decides to fight Grendel without any weapons and defeats him. Angered by her son’s death, Grendel’s mother attacks the hall and is also slain by Beowulf. Although mortally wounded in the battle, Beowulf succeeds in killing the dragon with the help of his trusty sword, Nægling. He dies soon after and is buried with great honor by his people.
Another strange connection that many people overlook is that both films display the body parts of the monsters they battled. “The triumph, for the evidence, hung high from the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s arm, claw, and shoulder (and all)” (lines 515-517). Gilgamesh’ s case was very comparable to Beowulf’s.
After slaying Humbaba, the guardian of the forest, Gilgamesh ripped off his head and “carried it away like a farmer gathering carrots” (Tablet V.i.43-44). Both heroes bring back physical evidence of their triumph over beasts to serve as testament to their heroic deeds. Furthermore, both poems also include a scene in which the hero is swimming in a body of water and becomes fatigued. In Beowulf, after slaying Grendel’s mother, Beowulf “swam up through the welter… till he could stand on dry land” (lines 1570-1572).
Similarly, while swimming in the sea to reach Utnapishtim’s island, Gilgamesh becomes exhausted and “the waters closed over his head” (Tablet XI.iii.39). In both cases, the heroes are saved by someone else and both must be revived. These scenes highlight the human frailty of the heroes, in contrast to their superhuman strength. Lastly, both poems include a scene in which the hero kills a dragon.
In Beowulf, after slaying a horde of dragons, Beowulf states “Now I know well that it is better/to achieve great deeds than to live long life-span;/no man can do two things at once” (lines 2562-2564). Likewise, Gilgamesh also kills a dragon, although he is assisted by Enkidu. After slaying the dragon, Gilgamesh says “I will go down to the Underworld / and see my father Urshanabi” (Tablet XII.iii.47-48). The slaying of dragons by these heroes reaffirms their status as epic heroes.
Comparatively, there are also several differences between Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Firstly, while Gilgamesh is two-thirds god and one-third man, Beowulf is entirely human. This difference is significant because it underscores the idea that humans are capable of great feats of strength and courage, even without divine intervention. Secondly, while both heroes kill monsters, Beowulf kills his opponents in single combat, while Gilgamesh often relies on the help of others, such as Enkidu, to kill his enemies.
This difference highlights the individualism of Beowulf as a hero, while Gilgamesh is more reliant on others. Finally, while both heroes experience a journey in which they must overcome challenges and obstacles, Gilgamesh’s journey is more spiritual in nature, while Beowulf’s journey is more physical. This difference is significant because it highlights the different values of these cultures – the spiritual values of Mesopotamia versus the physical values of Anglo-Saxon culture.
In conclusion, while there are several similarities between Beowulf and Gilgamesh, there are also several differences. These similarities and differences highlight the different values and beliefs of these cultures.Gilgamesh Vs Beowulf