A comparison of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey searching for the meaning of life Gilgamesh and Odysseus are both men. They are ordinary men who have been granted certain strengths, one has physical strength and one has mental strength. However, they experience hardships and make mistakes. They try to find themselves through life just like any average man. The two works of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, are compared as expressions of searches for this meaning of life through knowledge. The two stories are somewhat mirrors of themselves in this manner. Gilgamesh and Odysseus find out their own meanings of life through trials and tribulations just as any ordinary man would. In the prologue of the Epic of Gilgamesh, we learn that he is two- thirds god and one-third man. He is king of Uruk. He is more than anyone can desire to be, yet he is still mortal and must experience death of a loved one and death himself. This will turn out to be Gilgamesh's question of life as we will see. The Odyssey is somewhat different in the format of events, so we do not know much about Odysseus until later in the story. But due to reading the Iliad we know that Odysseus is the king of Ithaca and he is a major part of the Trojan war. In the beginning of the Odyssey, we do know that Odysseus has a family which is struggling without him. He will come to realize his family means more to the preservation of his life than anything he could learn in war. So both of our characters are very well off, thanks to the gods. As we know, nothing is perfect and life will always present challenges to everyone even the strongest and smartest. Gilgamesh is in control of Uruk and the people are not happy because he kills their sons and rapes their daughters. The people of Uruk pray to the gods to give him an 'equal,' a 'reflection,' a 'second self.' "Let them contend together and leave Uruk in quiet"(p 19).