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The Education Of Odysseus And Gilgamesh

            The Education of Odysseus and Gilgamesh.
             Odysseus and Gilgamesh are both characters in epics who become heroes through the challenges they face on their respective journeys. During each character's journey he learns the qualities that a good leader and hero must possess. They both start off as flawed men and leaders "and the tests they face on their journeys teach them to overcome their flaws and become better leaders as well as heroes.
             A true leader must be comfortable in his solitude and able to act alone. In each epic both characters are in situations where they are both isolated and feel overwhelmingly lonely. Gilgamesh encounters loneliness more than once throughout the epic. In the beginning, he is so lonely that he acts as a tyrant, ignores his duties as a king and pursues young children and maidens throughout his kingdom in a quest for companionship. Later on Gilgamesh becomes lonely again after the death of Enkidu which sets him off into deep depression and he feels as though he has no purpose for living any longer. Odysseus, on the other hand, is stuck on an island with Calypso for seven years with almost no hope of returning home. He longs to return home to his wife and son, but he has no ship and no crew to help him get there. .
             Both Odysseus and Gilgamesh are able to overcome this unbearable loneliness with help from their gods. To keep Gilgamesh out of trouble and less lonely, the gods Anu and Aruru create Enkidu as a rival for Gilgamesh. Enkidu is Gilgamesh's match and equal in terms of mind and strength and after a brief initial battle, the two become good friends right away. However, Enkidu proves to be only a temporary fix to Gilgamesh's loneliness and when he dies Gilgamesh is miserable once again. But Enkidu's death is the event that ultimately sends Gilgamesh on his quest for immortality. And at the end of the epic when Gilgamesh comes back to his homeland, he realizes that it isn't the end of the world if he is by himself since his first duty is to serve his people.

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