Epic vs. Myth, Gilgamesh vs. Hesiod

As discussed in class, the Epic of Gilgamesh is widely recognized as being, perhaps, the earliest masterpiece of world literature.  Writing hundreds if not thousands of years later, Hesiod is widely credited with helping to establish the immensely influential tradition of Greek mythical writing with his Theogony.  One of these is an anonymous text carved onto clay tablets using cuneiform script, the other is often seen as amongst the earliest examples of alphabetic literary writing.  One of these was mostly hidden from view for over a millennium and is from the ancient, mysterious, and often undervalued society of Mesopotamia, the other comes from the later, well-documented, and widely praised culture of Greece.  Yet despite tremendous differences of time, place, subject matter, and textual form, there are some remarkable similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Theogony, not to mention some telling differences.  Thus, I’m interested in seeing what might happen if we bring these ostensibly distant and divergent works together in very precise ways.  In particular, what might get revealed about the differences between early “myth” and “epic” by comparing, for example, the trials and tribulations faced by Gilgamesh with Hesiod’s tales of his favorite god Zeus?  To see what might come out of a focused exploration of these two monumentally important work, please pick two characters (one from each text) and compare/contrast them.  What does this interaction suggest about the characters themselves, and more importantly, about key elements of each masterpiece (if not their respective societies)?  What does your comparison reveal about the two works, and the two different types of work in question??

44 thoughts on “Epic vs. Myth, Gilgamesh vs. Hesiod

  1. It is clear that Gilgamesh while they appear to have many similarities also have strong differences that make them their very own powerful king.Gilgamesh has a close relation to Zeus, they both have come into control of all things possible. Zeus and Gilgamesh are similarly known to sleep around and those around them. Which in turn makes others hate them or become jealous of them. They are different in the ways that Zeus is always immortal and Gilgamesh tries to achieve immortality but fails. Differently Zeus appreciates his people and gives honorary gifts to goddesses like Styx. While Gilgamesh has his people asking the gods for help, to save them from Gilgamesh and his horrid reign. In other differences Zeus overpowered his father and saved his fellow brother and sisters while Gilgamesh’s mother is the one who offers guidance to him. Gilgamesh being a man of two-thirds god has a brother created to outweigh his bad behavior and teach him to change. While Zeus is not limited and continues doing as he pleases. Both men/ gods have much power and have done much with their time. Zeus and Gilgamesh both same initial personality and habits have different backgrounds and head in different directions.

    • I was just about to use the same two obvious characters when I read your comment. I agree strongly with everything you’ve said. They are both pompous yet somehow heroic and reverenced in a way, though Zeus has a temper that we don’t see as much in Gilgamesh. But we mustn’t forget that at the said “end’ of both stories, two very different things take place. In the Theogony, we don’t see Zeus conquer his temper or change his ways in any dramatic sense, while, on the other hand, Gilgamesh goes through a drastic change. He goes from being a proud, ignorant dictator of a king to a man who accepts the understanding of his mortality; he is humbled. We don’t see any change of heart or humbling demeanor in Zeus.

  2. Anyone can obviously see that these two tales include similarities and connection to the way myth and epics worked. In both takes we see gods and we see men. We also see how gods and men interacted with each other. In “Gilgamesh” the gods were involved in the life of men while on the other hand in Hesiod’s tale the gods did not involve themselves in the struggles of men. The task at hand is to compare two like characters from both stories. The character that I chose from “Gilgamesh” is the god Enlil. For Hesiod’s tale I chose the great god Zeus. First lets take a look on how these two gods are the same. Both Enlil and Zeus were superior amongst the gods. Also neither of them liked to involve themselves in the affairs of mankind. Finally they are both powerful rulers of their fellow gods. However the two rulers of gods do indeed differ in some ways. As we see in “Gilgamesh” Enlil allows the gods to interact with mankind in many ways such as falling in love with them. After that Enlil sees himself as a authoritative figures when men get out of hand. We see how Enlil and the other gods created Endiku in hopes to balance out Gilgamesh’s power. But now comes the time of Zeus. Zeus and Enlil differ due to the fact that Zeus did not want the gods meddling in human affairs. He basically prohibited it. Zeus even punished the titan Prometheus after he gave man fire. Zeus wanted mankind to figure out things on their own without the help from gods. Zeus might’ve wanted the gods remain in power and feared not seen as friends. In conclusion the two gods differ due to their interaction with mankind but are similar based on power and ruler status.
    These two gods affect the works in some ways. From the view of Gilgamesh we see how the gods helped mankind in everyday life and how they were free to interact with humans in anyway they wanted. Society worked hand in hand with the gods. Although Enlil didn’t like mankind he was still their to answer their prayers against Gilgamesh. On the other hand Zeus affected the works by starting a new age of gods. He was able to overthrow his father Croons issuing the age of the gods and getting rid of the titans. Zeus didn’t like helping mankind and made the distinct separation between gods and man. Society in Greek life feared the gods and Zeus’ wrath.

  3. The people I have chosen to compare are Zeus’ grandmother Gaia and the Goddess Ishtar. These two women would be described as vindictive at times. For example, when Ishtar was rejected by Gilgamesh, she was extremely spiteful and upset. Due to the fact that she complained to someone else about the terrible deeds that Gilgamesh brought back up about her, Anu Ishtar’s father sent down the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh and Enkidu. On the flip side, Gaia was also angry at the terrible deeds that her son/ husband Ouranos did to her and her family. The passage continues to explain that she was complaining about her husband to her children. Her kids wound up castrating him and making their mother happy. All of this was done in revenge, and both characters in these plays depicted it. Overall, this shows that although they were made in different time periods, creation myths and myths in general are overall the same. Ishtar and Gaia never met, but they both had almost identical personalities in which they were revenge seekers and attention hoarders.

  4. Using prior knowledge, for this assignment I decided to compare and contrast the two characters that are not the most known in the character list but are nonetheless important. The God of the sea, Poseidon (Hesiod), and the God of water, Ea (The Epic of Gilgamesh) share some similarities that allow the world to function the way it does. These two have obvious similarities that can be seen between the sections of the world they are allotted to protect. In contrast, the gods had very different ways of dealing with situations. While Ea was often seen as a mediator and even aided in the immortality of Utnapishtim, Poseidon was know to be a hot head. Ea was also said to be a wiser god than most not having to use force to get help. Not much of the same can be said for Poseidon. One can compare this to the ways at which the different societies are seen. It can be said that the Mesopotamians are more favorable and peaceful to the waters as opposed to the Greeks.

  5. The difference about myth and epic is about a hero verses someone superior who just can rule over the people. The epic is about a single hero, who changes the outcome of the situation and saves the day. Generally, in myths, there does not always need to be a hero. To further explain this concept I will compare and contrast Gilgameish with Zeus. Gilgameish is an epic because in the end he is seen as a hero who finally realizes it’s not always about being evil and sleeping around. He transforms into a man and grows up. When he loses his best friend, Enkidu, he changes and actually grows to have some compassion. In the end he is looked as a hero. He is afraid of death, but realizes he can’t live forever. However, Zeus is the opposite. Zeus is a ruler where he does a lot of wrong things, and some right things. You can see throughout the text that he doesn’t really do anything heroic. You gather the sense that he is very powerful, and has a bad temper. However, both Gilgameish and Zeus are alike because they both have their flaws and treat people badly. They are both also very violent. The major difference is that Gilgameish finds who he is, and changes his being. Zues remains the same, and doesn’t change at all. This comparison exemplifies the fact that Gilgameish is an epic while Hesiod is a myth.

    • I agree with most of the points you made when comparing Gilgamesh to Zeus, but I have to disagree with you on one thing. You said that Zeus “doesn’t really do anything heroic.” Maybe not to achieve status like Gilgamesh had to, because he was born with it. However I definitely think that there are some points to address when discussing Zeus and his accomplishments. What about when Zeus defeated his father, Cronos? Or when he defeated the giants at Typhoeus? Granted the defeat of his father was fated, but the deed still had to be done. I guess I’m looking at it more as he is one who completes heroic deeds more so than going out on a quest and doing something heroic. Because that’s not what he was; he’s part of a myth, not an epic.

  6. In this comment I would like to explain the differences between and epic and a myth, as well as a character from each record. I would like to start by saying an epic is a story with some kind of hero figure or may the figure be human or not it deals with a hero taking on an adventure to find some kind enlightenment or end result that they may or may not been seeking. On the other hand a myth is generally a story of gods and creation, or some story where we all originate from and they do sometimes have hero’s as well. The two characters I will chose will be Zeus and Gilgamesh. These two are similar in a way that they both are rulers of some kind of people it may be a city or an entire culture but they both are leaders of their time with immense strength that is unmatched. They both end up wanting the best for their people as well as keeping their leadership role be known. Now, these two differ in many ways the first is most obvious Gilgamesh was a mortal and Zeus was a God. The second, Zeus ruled from the sky with a lightning bolt as a weapon, Gilgamesh had a sword and ruled a city on the ground fighting with the seasons and hardships along with his people. Zues doesn’t have a lot of heart for his people as were Gilgamesh ends up having more compassion for his people than he ever imagined he also realized the error of his ways. Where zues never learned the error of his ways and ruled with an iron fist at times, and never changed at all.

    • I agree that Zeus and Gilgamesh differ upon the fact that they both sort of want the same things but they also differ. Gilgamesh is clearly an epic. That to me means a story that is told of a hero. It is also generally a more realistic tale as he has noted by describing their weapons, Zeus’s being lightning bolts. In myth the characters are much more God like being seen as almighty and super powerful. Gilgamesh does not have that same sort of stature that Zeus is regarded with and is definitely more relatable to humans than Zeus would ever be.

  7. In two separate stories, an epic and a myth, females are portrayed as powerful characters whether they are goddesses or not. For example in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar is the goddess of love and fertility. Ishtar has a bad temper and history with men. She falls in love with king Gilgamesh but because he refuses to accept her love she retaliates by unleashing a beast unto his kingdom. Obviously Ishtar is nurturing due to her role as the goddess of love and fertility, but in this epic she is portrayed as spiteful and brutal. Ishtar is viscous in contrast to Aphrodite who seems passive. Yet paradoxically, both goddesses represent love. Aphrodite from the tales of Hesiod is the Greek goddess of beauty, love, and pleasures. Although there are inconsistencies in Aphrodite’s birth, in Hesiod’s Theogony she is said to have spawned from sea’s foam where Ouranos’ castrated genitals were thrown. She arises as a much desired goddess by both gods and men. The characters themselves are similar in what they represent but different when it comes to personality. As a whole they are powerful females, and basically have a hold over the pleasures that mankind has. These goddesses are valued immensely for many other traits that reside in them and therefore are not any lesser of figures than the gods. In both the epic and the myth, it’s clear that females are equally important as males as represented through Ishtar and Aphrodite.

    • I agree with the statement above to an extent, Ishtar is vicious in many ways; after all she is the goddess of fertility, love, WAR, and sex. Ishtar lured men with cruel intentions and the men paid greatly for the favors. It is said that her love is fatal and gods have even died in pursuit of her. Aphrodite is just as destructive to men as Ishtar and to love either would be fatal. Aphrodite may not intentionally wreck men like Ishtar, but the potential is there. That is why Zeus marries her to Hephaestus, to prevent war and violence over her, and despite being married; Aphrodite still has many partners among the gods and the mortals. Aphrodite has no intention of destroying men but men have intentions of destroying men over her. Both women are strong and bring about the destruction of men in myth and epic weather they intend to or not.

  8. Our typical epic consists of one hero who defeats the masses, a character who rises to glory from his/her own accomplishments. Myth, on the other hand, is more of a traditional story explaining our history and where/who we as people descend from. There’s probably no need to clarify the differences between the two being that we’ve basically killed the subject in class, but nevertheless, there they are. I personally think it’s safe to say that there are many similarities among the two pieces of work we’ve been researching, “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and Hesiod’s “Theogony.” Characters aside for a moment, Gilgamesh, being the first actual written story in history, has paved the way for so many new theories/been a solid outline for writers to follow as a base. Therefore Hesiod must have been influenced in some way by this great epic when creating his “Theogony.” Two characters that show several similarities between the two excerpts are Anu, of the Mesopotamian gods, and Zeus. Anu is not mention much throughout the version of “Gilgamesh” we were given in class. Anu is the father of the gods; god of the firmament. When Gilgamesh is wreaking havoc on the city and its people, Anu is the god that the citizens pray to for help. They seek advise from him and hold him to a very high standard. This is much like how the humans would pray to Zeus. They’d pray to most all the gods, but Zeus was above them all; he was king. Anu hears the peoples’ pleas for help and aids in the formation Enkidu with Aruru, goddess of the earth and creator of humans. Zeus has the final say in basically everything, and that alone shows his position of power. As the father of both gods and men, he watches out for the actions and duties of the gods and the well being of the mortals below. As far as differences go, Zeus has a much more detailed role being that he holds the title of “king,” while Anu is simply the father of all gods, granting him supremacy.

  9. In the epic of “Gilgamesh” and Hesoid’s “Theogony,” I found that Gilgamesh and Ouranos share very similar qualities as rulers. At the beginning of the story, Gilgamesh starts as a king who is notorious for being selfish and not meeting the needs of his citizens. He is a tyrant. All throughout his story, Gilgamesh is portrayed as seeking eternal life, so he can rule and live forever. Ouranos, who was the first to be birthed by Gaia, searches for something similar. Although he is already immortal, he does not want to give up being in control of the gods and of earth. He conceives many children with Gaia, yet he hides them all within her so they are not able to overthrow his power. Both Gilgamesh and Ouranos begin their stories in positions of power, and although Gilgamesh’s story follows him trying to preserve that, he and Ouranos both end up losing their positions of power. Gilgamesh loses his by dying, and Ouranos loses his by being castrated.

  10. In looking deeper into each text, I can similarly relate Gilgamesh to the Greek god Zeus. Gilgamesh is a tyrannical ruler to the people of his kingdom in the beginning of his tale. We can eventually see his complete turn-around, but for the most part, he was merciless. When you think of Zeus, he is usually portrayed as “good” from Hesoid. This is most likely because he liked Zeus. Yet, if you look deeper at Zeus as a whole, most would consider him a tyrant as well. He is the King of the Gods, which is similar to Gilgamesh being that they are both Kings. And they both seem to be feared by most of their subjects. Zeus has complete control over all of the Gods, and most of them have learned to obey him. Gilgamesh is tyrannical at first, but is able to change his ways upon finding out the truth that immortality does not exist. Zeus is a God, and therefore is immortal altogether.

  11. At a very basic level, Zeus and Gilgamesh are tyrannical in nature but the difference between the two ultimately lies with the stylistic differences between a myth and an epic. The main difference between Gilgamesh and Zeus is that Gilgamesh develops past his tyrannical origins to become a better ruler. This main difference lends itself to the fact that Hesiod’s Theogony is more mythical in nature which means that character development is not a goal in the story and the only actual goal is explanation. Zeus is, in accordance with his title as king of the gods, stripped of the equal that Gilgamesh finds in Enkidu which means that he never has room to grow because he was already at the peak in the beginning and even when someone like Prometheus or Typhios is able to surpass Zeus in some particular aspect, whether it be intelligence or pure strength, it is quickly brushed aside by Hesiod. In short, the differences in character between Gilgamesh and Zeus do not spawn from Gilgamesh’s mortal third, but instead they spawn from the fact that heroes are meant to grow while gods are meant to stay the same.

    • I was about to do those two characters as well. I read your comment and I think that you make a valid point when you said, “heroes are meant to grow while gods are meant to stay the same.” In my opinion, that is something I now realize is recurring in many of the things I have read over the years. Also, I wouldn’t say that Zeus is tyrannical, although at times it may seem so. Zeus is also benevolent and there are good qualities about him. Gilgamesh, holds the value of friendship very deeply, which is to be admired. So yeah, I just think that last line of your comment sums it up quite nicely.

  12. When discussing two ancient texts like Hesiod’s Theogony and The Epic of Gilgamesh, it is clear that Zeus and Gilgamesh are the main focus characters. Although these two texts were written in different times in different places their characters are fairly similar. Both Gilgamesh and Zeus hold a position of power in their respected text. Moreover they both rule with a tyrant’s grip, terrorizing and punishing their subjects as they see fit. Gilgamesh and Zeus are also similar in the fact that they are divine. Although Gilgamesh is 1/3 human he still follows a similar pattern of divinity that was present throughout many mythological texts. This divinity pattern is key in understanding ancient beliefs. Zeus and Gilgamesh also differ in many ways. Gilgamesh undergoes a journey in the end that teaches him a valuable life lesson, while Zeus’ character doesn’t change. Also Zeus’ story shows him having to fight for his power while Gilgamesh was given it through divine succession. This shows how closely related each culture was to their respected higher beings. Myths like these two are important because it shows how some ancient plots are still present throughout literature. If scientists want to track back to the earliest myths and perhaps find a common pattern seeing the similarities and twists between stories like these are the way to do it.

  13. There are many distinctions to be drawn between King Gilgamesh In the Epic of Gilgamesh and Zeus in Theogony. First, both of them are at least part god, powerful beings regarded as the fiercest of their time. Gilgamesh today is viewed as a tyrant, requiring his forces to battle constantly and forcing them to slave labor. Zeus is also perceived to be oppresive in Theogony. Zeus was able to usurp the throne held by his father by using intellect. This is what makes Zeus such a mighty leader, although he may not be the fiercest of his kin, he uses his wits for advantage. In order to get the throne however, he first needed to vanquish his own father. He would force other gods into sexual acts even against their will just as Gilgamesh had done. Hesiod states in Theogony that, “Zeus, the high lord of thunder, Made women as a curse for mortal men. Evil conspirators. And he added another evil To offset the good. Whoever escapes marriage And women’s harm, comes to deadly old age Without any son to support him.” Zeus is also mentioned destroying the titans with a flurry of thunderbolts. Both leaders had good qualities to even out their rule however. Upon the death of Gilgamesh’s sidekick and best friend, “Ikindu,” Gilgamesh is stricken with grief. A failed quest to discover the most valuable thing in life, the ability to be immortal, impacts him in a way that he rules well for the rest of his years.

  14. I will be comparing the main character of Gilgamesh from the Epic of Gilgamesh, and Zeus from Hesiod’s Theogony. The two characters share a lot of similar characteristics, however they way each story is told is different. Both Gilgamesh and Zeus are powerful rulers of everything surrounding them. Nothing would dare challenge their rule and they had absolute power to do anything they please. They both had a tyrannical way of ruling meaning they were both ruthless and did not care about what the people had to think.
    Now the difference between Gilgamesh’s story and Zeus’ is that Gilgamesh’s story started with him and followed him throughout. I think that it is because Gilgamesh was mortal and that he saw that death was inevitable. Zeus on the other hand was a god and had nothing to fear so he continued to rule with an iron fist. The epic is written so that it follows Gilgamesh and his entire story. It shows him as a powerful ruler, who is then humbled by Enkidu, and is crushed when he sees his best friend dead. The story then continues with Gilgamesh traveling to seek eternal life. With a myth, it is much more just a small story depicting a work or event that happened. For example, we are not given all the details about Zeus and his rule and his entire story. We simply know his origin and his great feats. We are taken through a journey with Gilgamesh and we see a change in character and a new development. With a myth the characters are always the same, the characteristics do not change.

  15. Between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Theogony there are multiple characters that are similar to each other but I want to point out the similarities between the Babylonian goddess Ishtar and Aphrodite. Ishtar is the goddess of love, war, fertility, and sexuality while Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. After love their similarities with their domains, but this can be explained by the fact that there were fewer Babylonian gods compared to Greek gods. Both Ishtar and Aphrodite are associated with Venus and are known for their beauty. Their differences are that Ishtar displays a temper, as shown in her interactions with Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Also Ishtar has a father, Anu while Aphrodite was created from Ouranos’ castrated genitals. In both stories, Ishtar and Aphrodite are important figures with clout in their realms, which in patriarchal societies is rare.

  16. #myth 2 There are many similarities and differences that can be derived from the epic Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony and how they relate to their respective cultures. Two great characters that share a great difference of similarities and differences are Gilgamesh and Zeus. Both Zeus and Gilgamesh are kings and powerful rulers even though Zeus is king and ruler of the gods upon mount Olympus. Zeus and Gilgamesh both have a nasty habit of sleeping with numerous women who were not theirs and sometimes taking them by force. One of the main differences however is the gods created a foil to Gilgamesh so he would stop being a tyrant to his subjects by creating Enkidu. Through Enkidu Gilgamesh sees the error of his ways and finally stops being a tyrant flaunting his power at his subjects by becoming friends with Enkidu. Zeus however is king of the gods and wields unlimited power and has no one to tell him he can not do something that he wants to do. Although Zeus is described as being all wise and just there are many stories where his wielding of power can be seen as inherently unjust. When man was given fire by Prometheus Zeus not only sets out punish Prometheus but man as well by creating thousands of misfortunes to forever torment man through a deed he dislikes. Another difference is Gilgamesh is trying to achieve immortality while Zeus himself is immortal. As the same with all myths though there are differences they all have common themes and origins.

  17. Two main characters I think that should be compared and contrasted are Gilgamesh and Zeus. They have many similarities and differences but they are both the head leaders in their stories. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is a laid back type of leader but he is more of a dictator who rules over his people with an iron fist and also has his people asking the Gods for help. If Gilgamesh doesn’t get what he wants then he punishes his people. Zeus is also a laid back leader but he is not a dictator like gilgamesh because Zeus gives gifts to the other Gods. One major difference between Zeus and Gilgamesh is that Zeus is immortal and Gilgamesh is mortal. Zeus was immortal since birth, while Gilgamesh goes on an epic journey to try to gain immortality but fails. In both The Epic of Gilgamesh and Theogony, you can tell that the societies from which they came had similar views. You can tell that they both believed in the power of the Gods and had a warrior’s point of view with looking at things. Both of these works help us understand Greek culture and shape the way some of our views and stories are written today.

  18. The two characters that are pretty easy to compare and contrast are Gilgamesh and Zeus. Some similarities include that they are both extremely powerful and strong. They both at times use will use their powers to be slightly tyrannical. Overall though they both are heroes in their own right with Gilgamesh saving humanity from a flood and Zeus saving the gods from his father Cronos’s eating them. They are both very cunning, wise, and strong but don’t let that fool you, there are many differences between the two of them. For one Gilgamesh is a mortal king of men while Zeus is the immortal King of the Gods. Gilgamesh is not a full god either, he is one third mortal while Zeus is all god and has the powers to go along with it. He can throw lightning bolts while Gilgamesh’s only special power is his strength. Gilgamesh and Zeus are two of the greatest heroes in myth even though they are from 2 different eras. The story of how they both came to be was very influential towards how both of the cultures operated.

  19. I am picking Gilgamesh, from the epic tale of Gilgamesh and Zeus, from Hesiod’s Theogony. These two characters are very similar in a lot of ways. Gilgamesh is the king of his town Uruk, and many people look up to him. As with Zeus, he too is looked up to because he is very strong and powerful and basically the ruler. He also is the god of the sky and heavens so the others do literally look up to him. Both Gilgamesh and Zeus are the same in that way. They are also the same in that they both have amazing skills, powers, and abilities. Gilgamesh is the strongest man around and he solves problems and consistently wins battles. Zeus is also very special because he too is all powerful amognst the other beings around him. He rules the sky and has the power of lightning. These two are very different, however. They differ in the fact that, Zeus is a god and Gilgamesh is not. Gilgamesh also doesn’t necessarily have the supernatural power and ability that Zeus has. But he does have the physical might and strength. These two works show that mythology has a lot to do with and centers around the main, powerful characters; and they are crucial to the story.

  20. The most obvious characters to compare and contrast from these stories are Gilgamesh himself, and Zeus. Not because they are the most prominent characters of their respectful stories, but because I think the convergent factor between the two characters is also what diverges them. Gilgamesh and Zeus are both characters of really poor reputation when our myth and epic begin. Both are harsh, brutal, powerful leaders. The major different is that Zeus is a complete god; infact, King of the gods. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh is only one third god, and is mortal. I find this to be a significant difference in the stories because, had Gilgamesh not had to face his mortality, his character may not have changed at all, and may have remained more of a static bastard, frankly. Zeus does not have this problem, this obstacle, this epiphany. He is all powerful. Gods are sent to try save Gilgamesh and change how he is handling his leadership, Zeus’ story circles around HIM saving the gods. This also tells us that, despite the different times of these stories’ origins, both society’s considered Gods to be critical to the universe…however, in Zeus’ story, it seems as if the belief has changed to where the Gods are more interactive with each other in their own realm, rather than in Gilgamesh where the Gods are integral in the everyday lives of mortals on earth.

  21. Zeus and Gilgamesh have many differences and similarities. Some of the similarities are their power over their people and strength. Zeus’s rule over the other gods is with a iron fist, and is quite noticeable when he unleashes his temper. Also Zeus rules by putting fear into the other gods, not wanting to go near him with a complaint. Zeus has proven multiple times that he is the strongest, and should not be messed with. Gilgamesh rules with only his intentions in mind. He really only cares for himself. All of the tasks he conquered was to give himself eternal life. The power of Gilgamesh is real though. Gilgamesh did conquer the trials with his strength, therefore being like Zeus.

  22. Between the two texts I found Gilgamesh and Ouranos to be the most similar in the ways that the ruled. In the beginning, Gilgamesh is a tyrant. He doesn’t listen to what his people need and he is selfish. Gilgamesh wants to be able to rule eternally, which is exactly what Ouranos wants to do. Ouranos doesn’t want to have to give up his power, and knowing that one of his children will end u taking over as ruler he takes things to the extreme. He hides all of is children conceived with Gaia within her, so that they can’t dethrone him. They both begin with having power, and end up having none. Gilgamesh’s power goes away when he dies, and Ouranos’s power is gone when he is castrated by one of his own.

  23. I know I may be simple for doing this but its okay. Im going to talk about Gilamesh and Zeus. Both were leaders in their own rights and both were very powerful. They both had power beings at their sides. Gilgamesh had Enkidu, and Zeus had multiple, including Posiden and Hades. Both went through some tragedies though. Gilgamesh lost Enkidu due to a tragic illness and GIlamesh no longer felt immortal. Zues on the other hand banished his own brother into the underworld. Now Gilgamesh only had to deal with a few powerful beings mostly Enkidu. Zues had to deal with Cronos, Posiden, Hades, Gala and many more. Now these beings and gods were the most powerful in basically any story from the beginning of time. So Gilgamesh made out pretty good.

  24. After having read both the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony I have come to the conclusion that Zeus and Gilgamesh are the most similar characters. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is seen as the typical tyrannical king who lives a life of plenty and also abuses it. Zeus in the Theogony is also tyrannical in a sense. He is tyrannical also because he punishes anyone who disobeys him severely. This is seen in the case of Prometheus and his quest to acquire fir for man. When Prometheus does get fire for man Zeus decides that a fitting punishment for Prometheus is that he will have his liver eaten out daily. Another similarity/ difference is that they both are “gods”. The difference in that is that Zeus is a full blood “god” while Gilgamesh is 2/3 “god” and 1/3 human. There are two main differences between Zeus and Gilgamesh. One difference is that near the end of his story Gilgamesh has a change of heart and becomes a much better ruler. I think that his change in character is due to the fact that he is also part human. The other main difference is that Zeus is born immortal while Gilgamesh searches for immortality and comes out changed for the better.

  25. Zeus is the king of all gods. He is the god of the skies and heavens. What he says goes in the eyes of the ancient Greeks. Gilgamesh on the other hand is not a god, but he is a king and rules over his people with great fury. Gilgamesh in ways resembles a god. He is known to be one of the strongest humans on the planet and is worshiped by all his people. In his tale he is a ruthless merciless king. He gains a friend that resembles him in every way, except he was raised in the wild by animals. During the story they do something to upset the gods and they are punished by the death of Enkidu. Than Gilgamesh went on a journey to find eternal life and he eventually fails on this journey, but comes back to his people a very humbled and changed ruler of his people. Zeus on the other hand rules over the gods and all of the Greeks with great fury and vengeance. If you upset Zeus you were basically signing your own death warrant. Zeus gained his power by over-throwing his father Kronos, the then ruler of the titans, and became the ruler of Mount Olympus. Where all myths and legends have their similarities, they also have their differences. Zeus and Gilgamesh draw many similarities and differences even though they come from entirely different times periods.

  26. I, like a large number of fellow students, can easily see the startling similarities between Gilgamesh and Zeus. First and foremost is their supremacy over other people as they both rest in the position of the highest authority, King. Another blatant similarity is their tendency t lean towards the more tyrannical aspect of a ruler and by that i mean they greatly abused their power to impose their own desires upon their subjects. Whether it was their actions that resulted in violence or their desires towards women they both did and took what they wanted truthfully because they could. Now the most important part of this is actually the differences they have during their rules. A massively important difference that I feel strongly reflects the culture in which they were created. And that difference is simply the fact that Gilgamesh goes on a path of redemption and change starting from his encounter with Enkidu while Zeus pretty much stays the same. Now it is not just because Gilgamesh changes but he changes because he is perceived as wrong in the eyes of his people and the gods so they are what begins his change. The Greeks believed that Zeus being a all powerful unstoppable jerk was pretty much how he should be while the Sumerians seem to have a stronger idea about morals in their leaders. Another part of this I think is important is the fact that Gilgamesh is also still human if only 1/3. The way I see it this way is that Gil spent his days in absolute power sort of as a time when he mostly acted thinking with his godly side. Then his path to change was not just about immortality but him discovering his humanity something that could never possibly apply to Zeus since he is 100% a God. Maybe this reflects how both cultures view their gods and that they see them truly as powerful beings but for humans it is different and they should consider their actions.

  27. Although these characters come from different times and places in the world, Gilgamesh and Zeus have their fair share of similarities and differences. For starters, they are both the main focal point of their “story,” and they are also both rulers. Gilgamesh rules his city of Uruk, while Zeus rules the great Olympus. However, this also leads to a difference; the way they rule. Gilgamesh is a terrible ruler. The only thing he cares about is himself, which leads his people to complain to the gods, causing them to send Enkidu down to take care of the problem. Zeus has his negative times as a ruler, but what makes him different from Gilgamesh is that his people looked up to him. He was the ruler of all the gods and most powerful, so naturally he was like a leader, not only to his people, but fellow gods as well. Another similarity between the two is they both have a sense of immortality. Zeus, being the all powerful god he is, is immortal. Gilgamesh, although not immortal, goes on a quest to find such a power. Without summarizing the whole story, Gilgamesh eventually comes upon a plant that grants him this immortality he is looking for, but it eventually is stolen from him by a snake, making this a difference as well as a similarity (Gilgamesh never actually becomes immortal). These similarities and difference also reveal the type of story each one is. The tale of Gilgamesh deals with mostly mankind, with the occasionally god mention, making it an epic, while the story of Zeus deals with mainly the greek gods, making it a myth.

  28. Gilgamesh and the almighty Zeus are parallel characters. Both may be described as arrogant and self-centered beasts of men. Gilgamesh and Zeus both are the rulers of their realm, they are both their world’s greatest being. Zeus, although he may seem to be a good God to some, is really quite tyrannical. Just as Gilgamesh had his people praying to the Gods for help Zeus also has many mortals fearing him. They both went through trials and tribulations but only Gilgamesh really changed.
    The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony are very similar yet very different. Hesiod’s Theogony was more of a list, or a family tree, than it was a tale. Gilgamesh can be considered a myth whereas Hesiod’s Theogony would be considered the foundation for many myths. Theogony is a compiled list of all of the Gods and Goddesses of Greece. Some may have details added on, like how they were created, such as the story of Aphrodite. Gilgamesh specifically followed a hero and told a tale.

  29. The two characters that are the most obvious to compare and contrast are Zeus and Gilgamesh. They are both tyrants, and choose to rule forcefully over their people. But at the same time they are oddly admired, and very much timeless. But at the same time they are very different. There is the obvious difference in the fact that Zeus is divine and Gilgamesh is not. There is also the fact that Zeus never changes his ways. He is forever the almighty tyrannical king. But Gilgamesh changes his ways in the end. He suffers a great loss, and also comes to terms with the idea of death. Rather then staying a tyrannical king, he decides to change. These stories do show that many times, myth centers around very powerful and heroic characters.

  30. I found this topic to be rather interesting, as it brings to mind how cultures can be very different in some ways, but eerily close in other ways. Two characters that instantly jump to mind are Enkidu and Poseidon. Two characters that are just as powerful as the man in charge, but take the secondary lead in their pursuits. In most cases, these characters are used to provide wisdom to the man above them when they need it, and both characters suffer from short-tempered rage. In both cases, we can see how these two characters have their own depth, yet also bring out more information about their superiors through their actions.

  31. The two characters Gilgamesh and Zeus are both comparable because both are powerful rulers, although Zeus is a full god and ruler of the skies, and Gilgamesh is only 2 thirds god. They are both in many ways tyrants and selfish with Zeus committing adultery many times and Gilgamesh who’s people beg for help from the gods. Even though Gilgamesh did not find the fountain of youth or the key to eternal life on his journey, and Zeus was born immortal, he and Zeus are both immortal by their legacies passed down over the centuries.
    There are also several differences, besides the fact that one is an all powerful deity and the other a strong mortal king. Gilgamesh is eventually humbled as a leader by his friend Enkidu, we don’t see a change like this in Zeus’ character in any of the Hesiod’s myths. Gilgamesh’s epic depicts a journey, a story, a beginning and an end. Hesiod’s myths of Zeus and the other Olympians have a beginning but not an end, they will continue ruling, creating, and destroying for an eternity.

  32. Both The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony are critically important cultural pieces, and while there is a large amount of time between the composition of each, there are similarities. I came to the realization that in each there are characters that are simulatenously respectable and disgraceful. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, I found Enkidu to be a particularly ‘gray-area’ character. Within the Theogony, you could point to just about any of the gods or goddesses, but I chose to inspect the character of Prometheus. The reason I chose both of these characters are because they both do a great service for the people of Earth, while also being generally hated by the Gods. They are also intelligent and ultimately heroes, but in different manners (nature vs. Civilization).

    In the case of Enkidu, he is a man created by the Gods in an attempt to help the people of Uruk. In the course of his adventures, Enkidu saves the people from a tyrant, a monster (Humbabba), and a godly beast (Bull of Heaven). He gets much praise from the people, but the monster and the beast were both sacred to certain deities, and they decide that he must be punished and sentence him to death. Enkidu is a kind, chivalrous, world-smart and savvy character. Enkidu cares (and initially knows) little of civilization, and how people act in society, and he is rude. However, without his knowledge of nature, Gilgamesh would not have been able to slay the monster Humbabba.

    The God Prometheus is a clever, willy, and knowledgeable character, rather than a brawny, uncivilised one. Prometheus once tricked Zeus at a meal and gave better potions to the other Gods and mortal men at the table instead of giving Zeus the lion’s share. This is key because it brings humans close to godly status to be on equal terms there. Later, Zeus is still vengeful and mistrusting of humans and Prometheus. Zeus refuses to allow men to have fire, and they would never have got it if Prometheus had not once again tricked Zeus, selflessly sacrificing his standards among Gods to be good to humans. Prometheus symbolically brings civilization down to men.

  33. Although each story includes several different characters, I think it is obvious yet very important to point out the similarities and differences in the main protagonists, Giglamesh and Zeus. The similarities begin directly in their character. Both of them desire much more than they already have, and they strive to recieve power. Even though Zeus is already a god, he seeks for more power and battles many to gain respect and a higher rank. Giglamesh also searches for more than he already has in his quest to be immortal. I think the main difference is highlighted when Giglamesh is greatly affected by the death of his dear companion, Enkidu. However, Zeus does not seem to have any change in character throughout the many tales. Giglamesh could never truly compare to Zeus, even though he is 2/3rds of a God, Zeus is the ruler and supreme of all Gods and that seems to be his main priority. Gilgamesh learns from his mistakes and changes his goals and priorities when it comes to immortality, (although because of legacy he actually becomes immortal). In the end, whether the stories were ancient or considered to be the first piece of alphabetical writing, stories like Hesiod and Giglamesh will always include similar aspects and characters because that is what myth is all about. Myth is about characters who go through many struggles and learn things about themselves morally and the world around them. The works may be different in age and plot, but they have the same intent, to tell a story that has more depth.

  34. The two characters I am going to compare and contrast are Zeus (from Hestoid’s Theogony), and Gilgamesh (from the Epic of Gilgamesh). The reason i chose these two is because I feel as if they are playing the same role in their respected stories, although each story is told differently. First, both Zeus and Gilgamesh are considered to be above all others. No other characters in either text are perceived as stronger, or more powerful. I also would say they are similar in the sense that they are both womanizers who sleep around and aren’t necessarily faithful towards one woman. Another similarity I found, interestingly enough, is that even though they are both tyrant leaders who somewhat abuse their power, they are both loved and idolized by their people. On the contrary, they do have differences. One difference is that Zeus stays the same throughout his whole story, as Gilgamesh goes through a change of heart when Enkidu dies. Another difference between these two characters is that Zeus is 100% God, as Gilgamesh is considered to be 2/3 God and 1/3 human. So, obviously another difference is that Zeus is immortal and everlasting, as Gilgamesh is mortal and will eventually meet his end. Although both characters are very similar, their tales are told very different. Hestoid’s Theogony basically just lists each God and Goddess and explains how they came about, as the Epic of Gilgamesh follows one man’s journey. Both, though, are very important today, as they helped shape myth into what it has become.

  35. A myth and an epic differ from glorifying a hero and a leader being recognized for how they ruled their people. There are many similarities between Gilgamesh the hero and Zeus the God as well as contrasts. The main characters both exert their authority over their people in a harsh and stern manner. They are both very selfish and are led by their need to have whatever they want to execute their actions. These acts would include abusing and manipulating those around them and figuring out ways to be on top. Having power, desiring and making it a goal to be on top is why Gilgamesh and Zeus share a common thread. The differences are highlighted in the fact that Zeus is a god and Gilgamesh is a strong man. While Gilgamesh’s character goes through change and he realizes that he can’t get whatever he wants, Zeus, being a god believes he is perfect. He succeeds in every battle while Gilgamesh failed to defeat death. Zeus punishes and rewards those below him as he sees fit. If he had many distracting flaws such as Gilgamesh, he wouldn’t be depicted as such a huge figure in Hesoid’s Theogony.

  36. Myths are powerful because of what they tell us about their physical origins or of the people of that culture. A myth’s evolution from imagination to reality is what makes them so important. The elements in those stories and myths that are still a part of their origin’s present reality is what makes them worth learning about. As previously stated in almost every post prior to mine, I would like to compare Zeus and Gilgamesh because they seem to be the same yet very different. Both are respected and and well known by their people, and live their lives to the fullest, yet through the obstacles they face only one can say they for sure they changed, that being Gilgamesh. For any living being in the world, feelings exist. Although one may not be capable of admitting such ways, it happens. The death of Enkidu changes Gilgamesh’s perception, leading him to have a change in heart, which is completely normal, but could stem from the possibility that he is 1/3 human therefore has the ability to feel differently when faced with such life altering circumstances. Zeus on the other hand is 100% God, leaving him to maybe not be equipped to feel anything so surreal.

  37. I’m going to have to take the easy way out and compare our two main characters Zeus and Gilgamesh. At first the characters seem to be polar opposites; with Zeus saving his family and becoming a hero and Gilgamesh oppressing his people as the unfavorable ruler. The only similarity seems to be that both hold the main source of power in their communities and are known not to be messed with. Soon Zeus shows a side closer to Gilgamesh in way of unfairness and ultimately always doing whats best for himself rather that all of his people. While Zeus begins on top heading towards a decline, Gilgamesh slowly evolves into a better man. Through his journey he learns humility and starts to see what being a true leader really entails.

  38. What’s crazy and fascinates me, is how true the saying “history repeats itself” is. The epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s theogony are written or transcribed in two completely different time eras but seem to still have the same underlying similarities. Lets look at the central characters of each work like Gilgamesh. He is a tyrannical ruler who strikes fear into the people he over sees and is selfish in making it his man goal in life to outsmart the gods and learn how to live forever, to become immortal. Now Zeus parallels some of those aspects as well, like being an over powerful ruler, and committing selfish acts like adultery. Parallels between characters of each work can even be seen in the secondary leading men, Poseidon and Enkidu. Not only do they seem to never reach the level of higher power as their counterparts, Zeus and Gilgamesh, but they both possess some of the same qualities. A big one I noticed was how Enkidu was none for being a wild man, with no reign, and Poseidon was none for his wild bursts of anger which would call for unsettling seas. It’s just weird to comprehend how two works, of two completely different eras, could have so many small similarities.

  39. I think that Gilgamesh and Zeus have many things in common and also many differences. These two gods could both be considered tyrants for their cruel actions. Gilgamesh would sleep around with any man’s bride or any women he desired. Zeus would assign cruel punishments to people just for simply disobeying him. A difference between the two is that Zeus is born with immortality while Gilgamesh was not. Zeus was a full blood god while Gilgamesh was 2/3 divine and 1/3 mortal. Gilgamesh also changed more than Zeus ever did… At the end of the epic Gilgamesh appears to be a better man/god than Zeus ever was. The two are very similar yet different in some ways.

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