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Oedipus Rex Vs. Gilgamesh

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'No two men are alike in the way they act, the way they think, or the way they look. However, every man has a little something from the other. Although Oedipus and Gilgamesh are entirely different people, they are still very similar. Each one, in their own way, is exceptionally brave, heroically tragic, and both encompass diverse strengths and weaknesses. One is strictly a victim of fate and the other is entirely responsible for his own plight.

Out of the two men, Gilgamesh was far braver than Oedipus. He risked his life a number of times when he was in the company of his friend Enkidu. In addition, he risked his life following Enkidu's death whilst he went to uncover the secret of life and death to save Enkidu. Gilgamesh believed that he could do anything, "Gilgamesh, who feared nothing, might have been expected to say, `then it's I who will go out and subdue him [Enkidu] and bring him captive to the city'"(Bryson, 5). Gilgamesh would have fought any monster or conquered any feat that stood in his way. Following the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh was determined to unearth the secret of life and death to bring his friend back from the afterlife. He had to cross many dangerous paths which "no one who [was] alive [could] cross..." however, he never gave up and finally reached Enkidu.

Both men had tragic outcomes; however, Oedipus' ending was by far the most heartrending. The tragedy of him being a "son, And a husband, to the woman who bore him; father-killer, And father-supplanter" (Sophocles, 38) is by far inferior to Gilgamesh losing

a friend to the afterlife. Oedipus was a victim of fate; he wasn't able to control what his conclusion was. Oedipus' tragedy led him, not to want to die, but to live in total emptiness. "I would not rest Till I had poisoned up this body of shame In total blankness. For the mind to dwell Beyond the reach of pain, were peace indeed (Sophocles, 64)." His pain was so immense that even death was too superior for him. He chose to remove his eyesight because he felt that he was too undeserving of death, that a life of blindness would be a more superior form of punishment for him.

Oedipus demonstrated great strengths while he lived in the city of Thebes. He was a very caring man; when his people needed aid "[he] willingly would do anything to help [them]" (Sophocles, 26). When the people of Thebes asked Oedipus to bring their land back to normal, he did everything he could to find out who was polluting the earth. Oedipus was also a very prosperous and successful man. He was the ."..Greatest of men; he held the key to the deepest mysteries; [and] Was envied by all his fellow-men for his great prosperity..."(Sophocles, 68). People from distant lands knew the name of Oedipus; he who conquered the Sphynx and helped Thebes become a flourishing city once again.

However, King Oedipus also had his weaknesses. When Teiresias came to Thebes, he tried to save Oedipus from the agony of what he was asked to tell him, "I mean to spare you, and myself. Ask me No more. It is useless. I will tell you nothing" (Sophocles, 35). Nevertheless, Oedipus did not believe Teiresias or take his warning and threatened the old man to tell him everything. If he had left well enough alone, then he would not have discovered his misfortune. Oedipus also blames his best friend, Creon, for making Teiresias say the things that he did "Have you the face to stand before my door, Proved plotter against my life, thief of my crown"



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