The Epic Gilgamesh vs. the Myth(s) of Hesiod

The Epic of Gilgamesh is widely recognized as being, perhaps, the earliest masterpiece of world literature.  Hesiod, who wrote his Theogony hundreds if not thousands of years later, is widely credited with helping to establish the immensely influential tradition of Greek mythical writing.  One of these is an anonymous text carved onto clay tablets using cuneiform script, while the other is often seen as amongst the earliest examples of alphabetic literary writing.  One of these works 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 “epic” and “myth” 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 (i.e. epic vs. myth) ??

24 thoughts on “The Epic Gilgamesh vs. the Myth(s) of Hesiod

  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Theogony, although written in different time periods and recorded in very different ways, share many similarities. However, one is an epic, while the other is a collection of myths. There are some obvious differences because of this, such as that the Epic of Gilgamesh includes a single character traveling to many places on a journey, while Hesiod’s Theogany follows several characters throughout the stories, and talks about how they all came to be.
    Two of the main characters between the two pieces, Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Zeus in Hesiod’s Theogony, are similar in several ways. To begin with, they both are in powerful positions, Gilgamesh is a king when the story begins, and Zeus becomes the King of the Gods as the story progresses. Although they are both kings, they are in a way very relatable characters. This is because they are not perfect in any way. In fact they are very flawed characters. In the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is portrayed as a terrible person, raping women and taking their children as slaves. Although Zeus does not do anything this gruesome, he is not perfect either, often cheating on his wife and having children with other women. Zeus also does not seem to learn from his past. For instance he and his siblings are swallowed by his father, Cronus. When Zeus is put in the same situation as his father, worrying his children will overthrow him, he swallows his children as well.
    Gilgamesh and Zeus have similar roles in each story, being sent on countless adventures to save the world and better themselves. However, they are not the same person. Gilgamesh is much more human than Zeus is, because Zeus is a god. Gilgamesh refuses the women who want to marry him, while Zeus never hesitates to have children with women who want to be with him. I would say by the end of the story Gilgamesh is a little less full of himself than Zeus is, because he sees the death of his best friend and knows he is not invincible, while Zeus is immortal and knows he can do anything.

  2. There are many parallels that could be drawn from the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Myth(s) of Hesiod, in both their characters and their moral elements. Despite their age gaps, both stories feature scenes of gods interacting with men, of heroism, and also of revenge, which is the element I will be focusing on when comparing the characters Ishtar (Gilgamesh) and Gaia (Hesiod).

    There is quite a bit to unpack when comparing and contrasting both of these characters, in the context of their respective revenge plots. On one hand, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar had devised a plan to complain to her father Anu, and ask permission to use the Bull of Heaven to strike Gilgamesh down for disgracing her by revealing Ishtar to be a manipulative lover and ultimately refusing to marry her. On the other hand, in the Myth(s) of Hesiod, Gaia had complained to her many children about their criminal father Ouranos, expressing her distaste for him and how he has been acting, to which her child Cronos developed a plan to ambush and murder Ouranos that Gaia approved of. On the surface, they are both stories of revenge, however, each has their own twists. To start with similarities, both involve someone complaining to another about their situation, intent of revenge being murder, and anger towards someone’s actions. Moving to differences, they mainly lie with each character’s motives, morals, and outcomes. While Ishtar seeks revenge on someone who called her out for being an awful person, Gaia seeks revenge on someone who had done an awful act (hiding away his grotesque children in the earth). This makes it hard for the audience to root for Ishtar like they might root for Gaia and puts Gaia at a moral high ground. Their outcomes are also different because Gaia succeeds in murdering Ouranos, whereas Ishtar doesn’t and in fact gets hurt herself by Enkidu slapping her in the face with the shoulder of the Bull.

    Structure-wise, these characters are very similar, they both have the same way of dealing with their problems (by complaining to others), a relatively same method of revenge, and they both act on it because of their anger towards another person. However, when it comes to the morals behind their motives and their outcomes, they’re very different. It almost feels as though each story is presenting their own opinion on revenge. In Gilgamesh, it’s saying that revenge, at least of that nature, should not be sought after, and will fail in the end. In Hesiod, there is a gray area surrounding revenge, saying that given the right intentions, revenge could be an effective problem solver.

  3. Although there are centuries separating these two great works, one can find many similarities and differences between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the single unified story of one larger than life demigod who starts off as very corrupt, raping women and enslaving their children. Gradually as the epic progresses, Gilgamesh is seen as gradually redeeming himself, especially once he witnesses the slow and painful ten day death of his good friend Enkidu. This instance results in Gilgamesh realizing that he himself is not immortal and that death is his inevitable endpoint, a concept he becomes afraid of. Gilgamesh had the opportunity to become immortal with the assistance of a plant he had uncovered at the bottom of the ocean, but this had been stolen from him by a snake. One of the concepts of an epic is that it thoroughly defines the beliefs and values of the culture that wrote it, while Gilgamesh does not necessarily start of noble, he gradually comes to a state of self betterment, he realizes that he can not escape what is destined to happen, and he seeks to change his ways, actions and mindsets the Sumerians would most certainly find admirable. On the other side, in Hesiod’s Theogony, there is not one unified story following one unified character, a contrast in structure. One can compare and contrast King Gilgamesh to the resident king in Hesiod’s Theogony, that being Zeus. While they are both kings and both divine, Zeus can certainly be seen as more prideful than Gilgamesh, not very quick to learn from his mistakes. Zeus is very full of himself, very lustful, just overall enveloped in his status. While he does go on a journey like Gilgamesh, his ultimate end result is not the same, he does not have to fear death and is free to rule and act as he pleases. Since Theogony is classified as a collection of myths, generally it can be interpreted as being believed by the Greek culture where it originated. Since Zeus was seen to be the supreme ruler, the king of the Gods, the Greeks indubitably feared him, likewise seeing his journey as depicted in the story as noble and his actions as just.

  4. I am going to be comparing Zeus vs. Gilgamesh. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the main character, Gilgamesh, is described as a powerful, conceited, and egocentric ruler of Uruk. In Hesiod’s “Theogony”, Zeus is introduced as the “father of all gods and men, Mightiest of the gods and strongest by far;” (Hesiod, “Theogony” 48-49). As we are introduced to these characters, we get the sense that they are both powerful leaders. Zeus is considered the king of Mount Olympus. Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, which is one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia.
    Although, there are similarities between these two characters, there are also many differences. For example, Gilgamesh is originally introduced as a man who is ⅓ human, and ⅔ gods (demi-god). Where as Zeus is 100% a god, he is the god of the sky and thunder. There is also reason to believe that Gilgamesh is a real person, because Uruk (the place he ruled) was a real place located off of the ancient Euphrates River, which is no longer a river due to the fact that it is dry. Zeus is a fictional character in ancient Greek mythology. Both of these men, were in some sort leadership role, although they both ruled very differently. Zeus seemed to not be as harsh of a ruler as Gilgamesh was. Gilgamesh would rape the women of his town and enslave the children, all of which does not fit in the category of a “noble ruler.” Zeus is often described as being a noble, intelligent, and compassionate. Zeus’s only weakness is his short temper, where he would often wreak havoc on earth by creating storms, and other forms of destruction. Both of these characters have one thing in common, and that is there leadership roles. Although, both men tend to lead their people in unique ways, they are both still kings with the responsibility of ruling their people.

  5. Both the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony are popular stories that are still being retold and taught years later. There are many parallels that can be made between the two; however, there are plenty of differences as well. Besides the obvious difference, that one is an epic while the other is a myth, Gilgamesh focus on one specific character and their journey, while Theogony does not focus in on one character, rather a vast range of gods and goddesses. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, there is the “sidekick” element that is present. In Theogony, the element is not present, showing that the gods and goddesses were all powerful and did not need assistance. After finishing both stories, I feel as though Gilgamesh and Ouranos share some similar qualities, but also have their fair share of differences.

    In the beginning of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is a selfish and arrogant ruler. He enslaved the children and raped the women he desired. Overall, he abused his power greatly, and doesn’t care about anybody else’s needs besides his own. The same can be said about Ouranos. He abuses his power and fears losing it. In fact, he fears it so much that when Gaia gives birth, he hides them away inside of Gaia, keeping them from the light and keeping them from every taking away his power. Another similarity they share is the removal of their power. Gilgamesh loses his chance at youth, and must face the fact that death is enviable. Gaia tells her children all the evil things their father has done, and because of this, Ouranos is castrated by one of his sons, Cronos. Gilgamesh and Ouranos differ, on things as well. Gilgamesh is more human in his epic, while Ouranos is a god with physical powers. Also, at the end of his journey, Gilgamesh has a different view on life, hopefully on the more positive side. Ouranos doesn’t seem to change and continued to live the way he did previously.

  6. Ishtar and Gaia as Strong Female Figures

    Despite the many differences between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony, there are some similarities that can be observed within the strong, female characters of Ishtar and Gaia. Each work’s respective societies reveal their view of women within the stories that describe each character.
    In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar seeks revenge on Gilgamesh and sets out to murder him with the Bull of Heaven that she was granted from her father, Anu. This is because when Gilgamesh returned from his journey, Ishtar was love-struck and asked Gilgamesh to be with her, but he harshly declines. Ishtar can be considered a strong female figure because she decides to take action instead of sulking in dismay after she is rejected and humiliated by Gilgamesh. She formulates a plan herself and executes it without any guilt or afterthought. This idea can apply to Gaia, too. Her husband, Ouranos, caused her great agony by eating three of her newborn sons because he was unsatisfied by their deformities. Gaia then summons her other children and manages to persuade one son, Cronos, to kill his own father in her honor with a weapon she crafted herself.
    Both of these female figures either hold or attempt to hold positions of power over the opposing male. The difference is that while Gaia’s plan is successful, Ishtar’s brutally backfires. However, the sheer fact that the stories’ authors would allow female characters to think of and execute plans to murder men, let alone the story’s hero, shows that their cultures have respect for women. Neither woman are obedient housewives, as Ishtar has the reputation of manipulating several men and lovers, and Gaia rebels against her husband. Both women are comfortable with independence and taking matters into their own hands, making them one in the same.

  7. The terms epic and myth are often confused with eachother because they share many similarities. Myths and epic tales both tell a story and we see how God’s and men interact with one other. Two like characters form the epic Gilgamesh and the Hesiod myth is Gilgamesh and Zeus who compare and vary in many ways. One of the major differences between these two Gods is that Zeus is immortal, whereas Gilgamesh’s goal was to find immortality but failed. In addition, Zeus appreciates his people while people are crying for help from other Gods to save them from Gilgamesh. In other differences, Zeus was able to overthrow his own father, Croons while Gilgamesh’s mother provided him guidance. On the other hand, they are both known to sleep around which causes others to hate or envy them. They are similar in the sense they are both rulers of some kind of people, either a city or an entire culture. Overall, they both want the same goal which is wanting the best for their people and keeping their leadership role alive. All in all, Gilgamesh and Zeus are very alike, but like everyone they have their differences. In fact, I learned that Gods are meant to stay the same, whereas heroes are expected to transform into a greater person.

  8. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony, although written many hundreds of years apart, share similar, and vastly different, characteristics. One of the largest differences is in the writing style of these two texts; in The Epic of Gilgamesh it follows one main character though many different journeys and trials in a uniform fashion, while Theogony follows many different characters and many different journeys that always come back to the main character in a very unorganized fashion. But both stories greatly focus on one main character, who is flawed, and their interactions with the different gods. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the author follows Gilgamesh and how though his trials and tribulations he becomes a better leader for his people and a better person. At the beginning of the epic he was arrogant and inconsiderate. He took what he wanted, when he wanted and thought that taking advantage of the people in his kingdom was his right. But then he meets someone who challenges him and isn’t afraid to tell him that what he is doing is wrong. They become the best of friends and the death of his friend was that turning moment in the epic where he really gets in touch with his humanity. In Theogony, Hesiod centralizes the story around Zeus, who is the “king god” in Greek mythology. Zeus, although he may be a god, has a few undesirable characteristics. He cheats on all his wives, multiple times, and can be a bit harsh with his punishments. One of the most notable is when Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man, not long after Zeus created women to punish man and Prometheus for taking the gift of fire. However, Zeus did give the gods their rights and gave them the power to bless, or punish, humans. Hecate, for example, was revered by Zeus and he gave her a portion of the earth, heaven, and the sea. Zeus privileged her so much that man prayed to her to riches or great fortune and she would bless or punish those who prayed to her at her will. Both characters needed to be flawed for them to be relatable and, yet still, great. Gilgamesh and Zeus were flawed but could do things that no ordinary person could ever actually do.
    But what do these stories say about the culture of the people who lived around that time? In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, a real person, went out and overcame great gods and obstacles to achieve his goals. This suggests a society that is optimistic and goal oriented. Furthermore, Gilgamesh’s search for the meaning of life after his friend’s death suggests that the people of the time were comfortable with the subject of death and have accepted the fact that dying is a part of being mortal. On the other hand, Theogony is a creation tale that explains, in a very complex way, how each aspect of their lives came to be. It explained storms, the earth, the sky, the ocean and many other aspects of the world around them that they didn’t understand. It suggests that the Greeks were very curious and that they thought that by understanding how the gods handled with conflicts, they could understand how to deal with their own conflicts. Furthermore, it illustrates that certain things are acceptable and other things have clear and harsh consequences. These two major literary pieces, although contrasting, helped shape their respective societies and gave us an insight of those whom it influenced.

  9. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony tend to have more differences than similarities, in my opinion. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t two characters to compare. I personally found that the two most similar characters right off the bat were Gilgamesh, a character from The Epic of Gilgamesh and Zeus, a character from Hesiod’s Theogony.
    Something I had noticed automatically was that they were both gods. Even though Gilgamesh was more of a demigod, he was still a god which makes the two characters very similar. Another comparison could be that they are both protagonists. They might not be the ideal protagonist at times to them being very flawed, but they are still the hero of the epic/myth.
    Their flaws also lead to another comparison of the two. Most people think that the hero of a story must automatically be perfect, but that isn’t always the case. At the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, we learn that he is kind of an asshole. He is raping the women of Uruk and he is also enslaving the children, which is not what we’d consider the actions of a hero. While in Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus has cheated on his wife numerous times, and often finds himself getting remarried over and over again. I think that a majority of us can understand that not all relationships work out, but is it really ideal to cheat on your wife with other women?

  10. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony are two different stories that correlate through the same genre. More specifically however, Theogony is labeled a myth because it informs readers of multiple characters with very specific plot lines to each character, whereas Gilgamesh’s story is labeled an epic because it narrates a story of one character going through many different plot lines and that character is somewhat historically accurate. Two individual characters stand out in both stories, in Theogony it is Cronos and in The Epic of Gilgamesh it is Gilgamesh. Both characters play an important role in the understanding of each piece. Similarly, both are very powerful leaders, Gilgamesh received his position by taking advantage of their people (killing, raping, and enslaving) knowing they couldn’t stop him, and Theogony by dismembering his dad and eating his children. Furthermore, both characters at some point in their story have a fear of death and try their best to avoid death. However, at the end Gilgamesh is the only one to do some self-reflective thought and realize his opportunities. Gilgamesh’s story was very long and drawn out containing many thrilling plot lines. Whereas, Cronos’s story was a small chapter in a much larger book and only contained limited plot line. Both the Mesopotamians and the Greeks were polytheistic and believed in demigods, immortality, and demigods.

  11. Although The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hesiod Theogony are written during two different time periods in history, they shared many similarities and differences. They both have in common the message of conveying a story but one tells about a hero’s journey while the other tells about how a certain god or goddess came to be. To further examine this, one must do a compare and contrast on a character from each piece. The Epic of Gilgamesh describes a powerful ruler, Gilgamesh, who is afraid of death. In the beginning, he is an arrogant King who would rape women and enslave children just for the fun of it. While in Hesiod Theogony, Zeus would cheat on his wife by sleeping around with other women and impregnating them. Both of these character are flaw and is often not perfect because they have something that they are afraid of. Gilgamesh is scared of dying and Zeus is scared that his children is getting revenge on him just like how he did with his father. However, the two character do not share the same fate. After witnessing his friend dies, Gilgamesh came to the understanding that he is mortal and death is inevitable and with that he stops looking for a way to become immortal. Zeus on the other hand does not have to worry about death and he could do whatever he pleases since he is a god and everything he does is consider to be virtuous and honorable.

  12. There are similarities and differences between “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and “The Myth of Hesiod”. The two characters I will compare are Gilgamesh (the main character of Gilgamesh) and Zeus (the main character of Hesiod). These two characters are both powerful. They are both kings of their cities. Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk and Zeus is the king of Mount Olympus. We know that the obvious difference between the two is that one is an epic and one is a myth, but there are other differences that can be found. The myth of Hesiod is not only about one person, it has many characters that it focuses on. On the other hand, the epic of Gilgamesh only focuses on Gilgamesh and his journey. Gilgamesh in the beginning is selfish and terrible. He was not the type of ruler you would think he would be, he abused his power. He raped women and he enslaved children. During his journey, he realizes that he is not immortal after witnessing his friend Enkidu pass away. That leads him to fear death. Zeus on the other hand is immortal. As a king, he is not as bad as Gilgamesh, he is described as intelligent and noble. Even though these two characters are different in ways, they still want the best for their people and will take on any responsibilities they must.

  13. “Gilgamesh” and “Hesiod’s Theogony” are two very different types of mythology. “Gilgamesh” is a huge epic tale following one character on his growth path where he learns a lesson and betters him as a person, while “Hesiod’s Theogony” is a myth about the gods, a myth about these almighty perfect beings. Zues does not need to change like Gilgamesh because he is a god, he is a being that should be seen as perfection incarnate. Not only is he a god, he is the king of all gods, the most perfect of the perfect beings. Gilgamesh is a highly flawed character at the beginning of this story, he is actually quite a terrible person, who learns lessons as he goes through his trials while Zues just wins. When Zues fights Cronos and wins, he doesn’t really learn any big meaningful lesson, he just beats Cronos. Gilgamesh learns something with every trial, from his first fight with Enkidu, to his quest for immortality that leads to him meeting the immortal man, every trial slowly makes Gilgamesh become a better person. This highlights the difference between epics and godly myths. Epics are large world travelling stories that follow a single character on a large journey leading to the characters bettering while godly myths can focus on many characters where they do not really learn much in the end, but the “hero” still wins in the end,

  14. Both of these stories have very similar main characters despite the difference in type of story, myth or epic, and time period. Gilgamesh is considered an epic because it had a very intricate drawn out plot line with complex characters. Hesiod’s Theogony is considered a myth because of the direct plot, more simple characters, and length of the story.
    Gilgamesh and Zeus are similar characters if you look at the surface. Gilgamesh is a demi god and Zeus is a god. They are both more aggressive and treat women in anyway that they want. I believe they only start getting different is when you look at the end of their story and how they think. Gilgamesh knows he is half mortal and can die so when Ekindu dies he goes on a quest to find out what the meaning of life really is. Zeus knows he’s immortal so an event like that wont affect him in the same way.

  15. Although written and told centuries apart, there are specific, notable similarities and differences between Hesiod’s “Theogny” and The Epic of Gilgamesh. To start, Theogny is known as a “myth”, while Gilgamesh is deemed an “epic”. Therefore, Theogny focuses on how the world/creatures were made and Gilgamesh follows the story of a hero/God overcoming a transformation and tribulation. It may not seem as though there would be any similarities between these two myths and epics, but however there are quite a few. Notably, both stories follow a “God”/”Hero”. In Gilgamesh, the hero is Gilgamesh and in Theogny, the “God” is Zeus. Along with that thought, both include mythical gods and goddesses. However, Zeus is seemingly “perfect” because he is 100% God (but we know he is not, for he sins quite often), while Gilgamesh is very flawed from start to finish because he is only 1/3 God and 2/3 human. Like said before, Zeus is deemed perfect but he commits adultery and sleeps with other women, much like Gilgamesh who rapes the women in his city. This shows that the minds who created these tales knew just how flawed humans are, which is why the heroes in these stories are just as imperfect as the average human. In the long run though, both Zeus and Gilgamesh come to realize how terrible/selfish they have been to their people and start to think about others besides themselves. Also, both tales concentrate on the meaning of life. For example, in Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh goes on a search to find how to achieve immortality and what is means to truly live. In Theogny, Zeus knows how the world around him was created and what it entails. Basically, both stories dip into how life around them works. This shows that people living back then were very curious on how the earth came to be and what the meaning of life is. Having Zeus and Gilgamesh as two main characters symbolizes how humans back then were just as imperfect as the Gods in their stories.

  16. The two literary texts, The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony, both share similar characters in Gilgamesh and the Greek God Zeus. One similarity Gilgamesh and Zeus share are they are both Gods, but Gilgamesh was only two-thirds of a God. In addition, they both treated women poorly because Gilgamesh would often sexually assault women in his city, and Zeus would cheat on his wives. Hesiod explains, “But when she was about to deliver the owl-eyed goddess Athena, Zeus tricked her, gulled her with crafty words and stuffed her in his stomach.” Also The author of Gilgamesh states, ” Gilgamesh would not leave young girls alone, the daughters of warriors, the brides of young men.”

    Even though Gilgamesh and Zeus share similar characteristics they have a surplus of differences. For instance, Zeus is one of the most powerful Greek Gods and Gilgamesh is only two-thirds God but soon afterward loses his immortality. In addition, Gilgamesh was sent a person to help him change to become a better person, Zeus never needed someone to help him change because is almighty.

  17. The epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony can often be compared to one another regardless of the titles they receive. Although Gilgamesh is an epic, many of the stories resemble one another on several occasions. One such example is that of Zeus being sharing traits with Gilgamesh himself. In Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus swallows his first wife Metis because she is to bear their first child Athena. He did this simply because a prophecy foretold that Metis’s children would ultimately destroy him and become the leader among gods.
    Similar to Zeus, Gilgamesh did not take competition lightly. When Gilgamesh heard that there was a man that could possibly defeat him, he immediately considered him a foe and sent a harlot to seduce him. It worked and Enkidu, Zeus’s opposition, became humanized and sought to take the thrown from Gilgamesh. Although both Zeus and Gilgamesh both meet their counterparts with hostility, both pairs came to peace and ultimately influenced each other to be true “epic heros”. Athena, the god of wisdom, can be related to Enkidu who is thought to be Gilgamesh’s better half as he supports him through many quests. Therefore, many similarities can be made between myths and epics.

    Sources: 1)

  18. Throughout history stories and myths seem to change and alter through generations of cultures throughout the world. In this case two totally unrelated stories correlate in some mysterious ways. Hesiod’s Theogony is how all the gods, mostly Zeus came to be who they are and how important they are, while Gilgamesh is an epic of a real person who once lived in Mesopotamia, but has been past down through ages to sound very heroic. Gilgamesh is a epic, a story about one man and his mission, but Hesiod’s Theogony is about Zeus and the adventures he has been through. Zeus is a god and in Gilgamesh he was only part god so he is mortal like all others. These pieces are also similar in the way that gods play a role in both pieces, for example in Gilgamesh there is a great flood. Zeus and Gilgamesh both carry qualities of a leader whether it be good or bad and both men have overcome their fair share of obstacles.

  19. Despite the differences between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony there are similarities between the two works that can lead to an interesting conversation about works of their time. One similarity between the two is that both works have strong male characters that possess major flaws. The Epic of Gilgamesh’s Gilgamesh and Theogony’s Quranos both hold significant power and strength. Both characters also hold a fear that inspires them to go to extreme measures. Gilgamesh fears death. He wishes to achieve immortality. Quranos fears his loss of power and will do anything in his power to keep it. When a prophecy warns him that one of his children will take his power away he begins swallowing all of his children. His fear causes him to be cruel and irrational. Gilgamesh’s fear on the other hand take him on a journey where he seems to come to a realization about himself as a ruler and a human. Both ultimately fail to reach their goals and face their fate, but Gilgamesh faces his fate with a certain grace, whereas Quranos is defeated despite his efforts.

    The differences between these characters brings to light a major difference between an epic and a myth. An epic consists of a long journey where characters gain some kind of new knowledge or accomplishes something. Myths seem to simply explain something whether it is a lesson, creation, or destruction. This is evident since Gilgamesh realized that as a mortal he can’t live forever and he accepts that he will die. Gilgamesh experienced an epiphany. Quranos fails his attempts to prevent the prophecy from occurring and is in the end overpowered. It seems as though epics were entertaining, but also used to teach big ideas and answer significant questions, while myths were more explanations.

  20. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Hesiod’s Theogony share similar characteristics along with their differences. The two characters I chose to compare were Zeus from Hesiod’s Theogony and Gilgamesh from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The epic of Gilgamesh is an epic while Hesiod’s Theogony is a myth. One main similarity between Gilgamesh and Zeus is that Gilgamesh is a demigod and Zeus is a god they are also both kings. The way Gilgamesh is portrayed in the beginning is very different from how Zeus is. In the beginning Gilgamesh was raping women and enslaving kids, he was acting as a dictator. While Zeus was portrayed as a mighty and strong respected leader. Both of them have also been involved in fights and battles with others and could be described as heros. Another difference between the two is that Gilgamesh is mortal and Zeus is immortal, which changes the way they think and act. Zeus knows he can live forever which could make him more careless while Gilgamesh who found out later that he was mortal changed the way he behaved. Both of these leaders could be described as heroic and courageous. While these two characters seem to have more differences they also share their similarities.

  21. Similarities within ancient texts are quite common, and can even been seen throughout works of literature that are hundreds of years apart, and even from completely different cultures. A prime example of this is the Epic of Gilgamesh, from the Mesopotamian era, and Hesiod’s Theology, written around Ancient Greece. In both tales, they follow a hero of great power, Gilgamesh and Zeus respectively. These two main character have quite a few similarities and differences that distinguishes how their story plays out. Both possess great power and leadership over many, and both abuse that strength. Gilgamesh is a nasty king who rapes his women and enslaves the children, overall acting as a malevolent ruler. While in Theology, Zeus acts as a horrible man, cheating on his wife and impregnating the women of these affairs. They are both very powerful and godly, though Gilgamesh is only two thirds god. As their respective stories progress, both characters are riddled with fear. Gilgamesh is fearful of what happens after life, while Zeus is scared of his children rebelling against him, like he did to his father. In Gilgamesh, he comes to a realization that whatever happens next is bound to happen, so he must enjoy what he has and has created. While in Theology Zeus does not suffer.

  22. The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hesiod are both mythical tales that contain many of the same plat elements however there are many stark differences between the two stories as well. While the Epic of Gilgamesh is a long story following one man’s adventures the Hesiod is more of a collection of stories. Two Characters That do share some similarities are Gilgamesh, the main character of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and Zeus the main god in the Hesiod. Both characters are viewed as good and having a noble cause but at the same time both characters can be cruel and unjust. This overlapping theme of cruel gods also persists in both stories, this reflects the similarities in both societies in that they wrote these stories looking for an answer as to why bad things happen to them. Both Gilgamesh and Zeus face epic tasks and show feats of strength and cunning. For example, when Gilgamesh completes his long journey and faces all of his tasks it proves that he is a worthy hero. This is comparable to Zeus when he defeats his father and takes power for himself and the gods. However, both heroes are not always so just, Gilgamesh is known to rape women just before they are wed and Zeus is constantly cheating on his wives. The only difference here is that Zeus is directly punished for these misdeeds by either his wives or some other he has scorned while Gilgamesh is punished by the gods for a collection of his flaws over a long period of time. Both of these masterpieces tell very different stories but also show that both societies were craving explanations to their natural worlds and these tales were some of the best answers they could find.

  23. The Epic of Gilgamesh is centered around Gilgamesh, a man who grows as a person through a series of adventures which eventually lead him to become a more mature ruler and make peace with his mortality. While Gilgamesh’s experience might seem vastly different from Zeus, a god of myth written about in Hesiod’s Theogony, who is known for his anger, children, and immortality, that is not necessarily true. Gilgamesh and Zeus were both born to rule from birth, each protecting their right to the throne and hailed as great kings. Besides the obvious matter of mortality, the differences between the pair can be seen in their personalities. Gilgamesh starts off arrogant and abuses his power over the people, the loss of his dear friend Enkidu sent him on a hunt of self discovery and denial of his eventual death. At the end of his journey, Gilgamesh returned to Uruk having now better grown into his responsibilities as a protector of his people. Zeus, on the other hand, remains the same of quick wit and a hot temper. The sort of journey Zeus went on was not one of inner struggle and reflection, he knew exactly what he wanted, but of an outward struggle which was to overthrow the titans and become the leader of the god’s.
    Looking at the characteristics of Gilgamesh and Zeus, values held important to the civilizations they came from can be gleaned. The people of Uruk adored their strong, brave, and honorable leader who defeated impossible monsters and found glory on his travels suggesting that the Sumerians placed worth on the deeds accomplished in a lifetime. The gods had no care for whom Zeus had children with, accepted that he overthrew his father, and praised him for his wit in seeing through Prometheus’ tricks. The ancient Greeks very well might have had far broader terms for acceptable relationships and a common practice of sons seeking to surpass their fathers. Furthermore, a high value was placed on wit, Zeus was repeatedly praised for his quick thinking tricking his father to releasing his siblings, seeing through Prometheus, and handling the other gods with gifts in return for their loyalty.
    Finally, the two stories each had variances between them as well lying within the plot as a whole and the finer details within. Gilgamesh went through an adventure, the death of a close friend, and a revelation which are all things the common people can relate to yet the scale at which Gilgamesh’s larger than life experiences were portrayed placed him a step above a hero to model after, an epic. Zeus’ was a tale of creation and destruction where powerful forces came together far removed from the judgement or understanding of man, a legend to be handed down through generations as a means of faith and explanation, a myth.

Comments are closed.