Epic Characteristics Essay Example

Throughout the stories we have read the nature of the different heroes or main characters have changed dramatically due to their journey and caused a development we can relate to the present day. When reading the Epic of Gilgamesh, we understand that before his life journey, he is an prideful selfish man who had no sympathy for human life. Although being very powerful he uses this to harm others and make the world harder for the people around him. When Gilgamesh wants something he doesn't let anyone stop him from getting it even if that means taking others' lives. This comes to show what greed and the pursuit of wealth and power can do to an individual. I think it is best represented with the top 1% of the world because they have all the power and money in the world but choose not to help the less fortunate due to selfish desire. We as humans even in today's day and age are always in pursuit of more and more even if that means stepping on someone to reach that goal unfortunately. On Gilgamesh’s journey his close friend dies while they were fighting a monster and after this Gilgamesh becomes scarred and is on the pursuit for immortality. On this journey he realized that only Gods can live forever but if he does enough good deeds and gives to the world, his name would live on forever and this is what made Giglamesh compassionate. 

In the epic of Beowulf, he overcomes a similar character development overtime as that of Gilgamesh but they went through different lessons in life. Unlike Gilgamesh,  Beowulf did not have a traumatic death in his circle causing him to change his life, rather this came after many victories over the enemies. Beowulf was a very strong and powerful warrior and had great pride after every victorious feat but he soon realized that pride should not be the only thing he is searching for in his pursuit for victory. He then reflects on this and as the story progresses he changes and is blessed with more wisdom and no longer fights for himself. When going into battle it is to protect his people as a king should, and not just for the gold and glory. This relates to our personal lives as well because we must understand as humans that pride cannot be our only motivator. We cannot only gain satisfaction when we are praised or when we win, but humble ourselves and be a selfless individual in a selfish society. 

If we do not step back and reflect on our good deeds in the world we will get blinded by our pride and be stopped where we stand. The epic of Achilles is a perfect example of this. Achilles was a very godlike powerful man and had no apparent weaknesses. His close relationship with the gods allowed him to trample enemy nations swiftly and he was worshipped. His main drive, like Beowulf, was glory and pride and Achilles wanted to be known as the greatest alive. Over the course of this epic he did not gain any significant character development or an arc that showed us he had changed. Instead this epic showed us that throughout Achilles journey he thought he was invincible when in fact he wasn’t and this ultimately was the cause of his downfall. He did not stop to reflect on what he was doing or what he was becoming and therefore his one weak spot was exposed and was shot by an arrow in his heel and died. This is a reflection on how we should always reflect on ourselves and never think we are invincible because someone somewhere knows our weak spot and it might cause us a lot of harm. 

The epic of Aeneas and Arjuna are very similar in ways that they are both courageous, have a sense of justice, and are willing to fight for others. Aeneas’s goal at the end of the epic was to change in order to satisfy his destiny. This is important to understand in today's day because without a destiny we would be lost and we would not have a purpose to fulfill and Aeneas understood that and pursued it. Arjuna was similar in the way that he wanted to help others and knew what was right from wrong. The only difference was he was hard headed but with his moral code he saved and helped a lot of people. The song of Roland is different from any other epic I have read being it was a battle between religions rather than a specific individual with a character arc or development. Yes, there was Roland but he was a mere symbol of what was happening behind the scenes being the Battle of the Roncevaux Pass and this was the main story being told. Roland’s death in this epic was a representation of an individual's strength and this had caused him to get hurt and always know who might betray you one day.


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