We can see all through the literature that the characters that have showed fortitude, audacity and strength have always been idolized. Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient story that had initially been based on twelve large tablets which are said to date back to approximately 650 B.C however, they aren't believed to be the original tablets as; the parts about the flood in the story mentioned in the tablets seem to date back to approximately 2,000 B.C.
The character of (Lorey) Gilgamesh who is the King of Uruk is known as a man with great strength and pure nature and a legendary hero. Gilgamesh contains the almighty power which enabled him to be "one-third mortal and two-third divine," (33) There are multiple aspects that are associated with a hero that have been shown in the character of Gilgamesh. Enkidu has been shown opposite Gilgamesh who has been made by the Gods themselves from clay and is shown as a villain at first. Everyone gets surprised when Gilgamesh and Enkidu becomes friends after he is loses to Gilgamesh. They both perform very heroically as they fight multiple obstacles in their journey.
As, with any epic story there can only be one true tragic hero in The Epic of Gilgamesh as well. Gilgamesh proves himself to be the true hero by not only trying to keep the people and his city safe from the unjust creatures and also continuing to maintain his relation with the humanity and god but by also realizing his weakness and trying to not let it affect him and his personality. In the beginning we see Gilgamesh as someone who fears nothing and no one, but later on we see him having one weakness when he witnesses the death of his brother and that weakness is the fear of death. Because of this fear he starts to look for immortality and it is at this point that we see him to be the real tragic hero when he realizes his weaknesses and understands his feelings but still continues to try to protect his people and city.
Even though the tragic hero Gilgamesh has shown his unwavering bravery and loyalty throughout this epic but the role that has been played by Enkidu in Gilgamesh's heroism can't be denied as it was Enkidu whose guidance helped Gilgamesh in becoming such a hero. Even today the heroism shown by Gilgamesh is being shown in so many of the roles that are being played by the heroes in various films and the name Gilgamesh is still heard in many of the film schools.
The nature of the Tragic Hero in Heart of Darkness
The tragic hero in the literary classic, Heart of Darkness is sent by Joseph Campbell on a quest that parallels the quest mentioned in the Hero with Thousand Faces and which has been referred to as "the Hero's Journey" by Joseph Campbell where the journey of the archetypal hero has been examined by Campbell in 12 distinct stages. Approximately all the stages that have been canvassed in the work done by Campbell are also present in the story of Heart of Darkness. An anonymous passenger guides us through the journey of Marlow; it is this passenger who lists Marlow's tales and Marlow himself too. The cruelness of human nature is witnessed by the reader through the journey that is made by the tragic hero Marlow to Congo and the experiences that he has throughout the journey.
It is at the end of the story when the climax, Ordeal comes that we notice the actual personality of the tragic hero. When the moment that Marlow has so desperately been waiting for comes he becomes devastated as; he realizes that the man that he had always considered to be his mentor has completely lost his values and morals. He realized that Kurtz was no more than a man and that it was him just like the society that wanted to make Kurtz into something which he actually wasn't. Marlow came to realize that it is a huge tragedy to think of someone as more than just a man; he realized that it was he who had created an illusion about Kurtz in order to survive and now that the illusion had broken the tragic hero prepared himself for his next journey.
Marlow does receive a gift as he is recovering from his disappointment. Although it is not the gift of wealth, status or knowledge that he had hoped for but what he gets is the chilling look inside the evil that is present in everyone's heart. And it is this gift which will give the tragic hero Marlow the unwanted truth for the rest of his life. Near the end of Marlow's journey he boards on the Road Back. He takes the responsibilities of Kurtz and deals with the officials of the company and tries to keep the previous image of Kurtz alive. He meets with Kurtz intended and lies to his aunt as he thinks of her naive as well. Through this journey we see the tragic hero gaining what Kurtz lost i.e. wisdom.
Marlow returns with the Elixir at the end of the journey and hides it from everyone so that he could save the world from his tainted truth. This story of Conrad has shown the cruelty that is present in us along with the actual nature of our race. The theory of a hero has been played very nicely by Campbell and all of the stages have been done perfectly.
The nature of the Tragic Hero in Apocalypse Now
Over the years the subject of War has been explored in a lot of film in Hollywood. The masterpiece that has been done by Francis Ford Coppola by the name "Apocalypse Now" is considered to be a cinema classic when it is compared to other films that have tried to capture the inhumanity and incoherence shown in the Hollywood films. The story in the novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad is what the film is based on. However, the jungles of Vietnam are the setting of the film. In the opinion of some of the critics the film is muddled and clustered but there are also some who believe the film to have a very powerful stance on the involvement of American military in Vietnam as well as the darkness that is potentially present in the hearts of all the human beings as it has been shown in the novel by Conrad.
The word "Apocalypse" means the end of the world as it has been explained in the Bible too. And just like the title in this film too Coppola has tried to explore the ways through which the symbolic "darkness" which is associated with Vietnam creates an apocalypse in people's hearts who go there in order to fight.
Marlon Brando plays the role of the emotionally unstable soldier who is on the mission to infiltrate rogue colonel compound. He has been shown to be ruling the apocalyptic and cult-like situation. The movie starts off in 1968 in Saigon and we see that the special intelligence agent and Army captain in held up in a hotel room intoxicated. He is desperate to get back into action. This is his second tour to Vietnam. He later on meets with one CIA operative and two military superiors who inform him about Walter E. Kurtz who is a Green Beret colonel and has gone rouge. Willard is given the orders to find Kurtz and terminate him. As Willard, the tragic hero, along with his team of 4 Navy patrol man start their search for Kurtz they come across scene after scene of all the horrors that result due…