A Critical Appraisal Of: Beowulf And Gilgamesh



There are many differences and critical comparisons that can be drawn
between the epics of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Both are historical poems which
shape their respected culture and both have major social, cultural, and
political impacts on the development of western civilization literature and
writing. Before any analysis is made, it is vital that some kind of a
foundation be established so that a further, in-depth exploration of the
complex nature of both narratives can be accomplished.
The epic of Gilgamesh is an important Middle Eastern literary work,
written in cuneiform on 12 clay tablets about 2000 BC. This heroic poem is named
for its hero, Gilgamesh, a tyrannical ...

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the two travelers return to Uruk, Ishtar (guardian deity of the
city) proclaims her love for the heroic Gilgamesh. When he rejects her, she
sends the Bull of Heaven to destroy the city. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the bull,
and, as punishment for his participation, the gods doom Enkidu to die. After
Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh seeks out the wise man Utnapishtim to learn the secret
of immortality. The sage recounts to Gilgamesh a story of a great flood (the
details of which are so remarkably similar to later biblical accounts of the
flood that scholars have taken great interest in this story). After much
hesitation, Utnapishtim reveals to Gilgamesh that a plant bestowing eternal
youth is in the sea. Gilgamesh dives into the water and finds the plant but
later loses it to a serpent and, disconsolate, returns to Uruk to end his days.
This saga was widely studied and translated in ancient times. Biblical
writers appear to have modeled their account of the friendship of David ...

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language are known from tablets
that were written during the first half of the 2nd millennium BC; the poems have
been entitled "Gilgamesh and Huwawa," "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven,"
"Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish," "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World," and
"The Death of Gilgamesh."
The Gilgamesh of the poems and of the epic tablets was probably the
Gilgamesh who ruled at Uruk in southern Mesopotamia sometime during the first
half of the 3rd millennium BC and who was thus a contemporary of Agga, ruler of
Kish; Gilgamesh of Uruk was also mentioned in the Sumerian list of kings as
reigning after the flood. Much like Beowulf, there is, however, no historical
evidence for the ...

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Added: 4/26/2008 10:10:26 AM
Category: English
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