Young Goodman Brown Gilgamesh Beowulf Bless Me Ultima the Legend of King Arthur Essay

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Gilgamesh, Beowulf, And Young Goodman Brown

The relationship between male figures in stories such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, both by anonymous writers, and "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne not only highlight the importance of male bonds in literature and across cultures, but also help to provide balance and guidance to titular figures. Each of these stories depicts a journey, enlightenment, and transformation, which help to drive the story forward.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the relationship that is formed between Gilgamesh and Enkidu is one of a kind and necessary for the continued existence of Uruk. At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh was considered to be a tyrant. The men of Uruk claim,

Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement, his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children; yet the king should be a shepherd to his people. His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior's daughter nor the wife of the noble; yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute.

The gods pay heed to the cries of the people of Uruk and contend Gilgamesh needs to be stopped, or at least, his efforts need to be directed elsewhere. Thus, the gods created Enkidu. Enkidu is both the equal and opposite of Gilgamesh; he serves to create balance in Uruk. Enkidu is equal to Gilgamesh through his strength, yet differs from him because he is not as civilized as his counterpart. Unlike Gilgamesh, Enkidu "was innocent of mankind; he knew nothing of the cultivated land." Because Enkidu was created to complement Gilgamesh it is logical that they would be attracted to each other; Enkidu wants to befriend Gilgamesh because "he longed for a comrade, for one who would understand his heart." Furthermore, while Gilgamesh has shown that he is a conqueror, Enkidu proves himself to be a protector, which is a quality that Gilgamesh is missing. Through their varied exploits, Gilgamesh and Enkidu prove to be two parts of one whole; they not only defeat Humbaba, but also defeat the Bull of Heaven, which results in a death sentence for Enkidu and forces Gilgamesh to undergo a secondary transformation. After Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh ensues on a quest to the underworld to better understand death and seek immortality. After a series of conversations with Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh is challenged by Utnapishtim to attempt to try and stay awake for seven days and prove that he is worthy of being given immortality. Although Gilgamesh fails the challenge, he is gifted a plant to restore youth, which is subsequently stolen from him. Although Gilgamesh has lost the opportunity to become immortal or to have his youth restored, he comes to accept that death is a part of life.

A similar theme pervades in Beowulf between Beowulf and Grendel. In the epic, Beowulf is called to Heorot to defeat Grendel, who has been terrorizing the kingdom and killing warriors. If one takes Beowulf to be representative of one warrior culture and Grendel to be representative of another warrior culture, one can better compare the two warriors and identify the qualities that make them similar and those that make them dissimilar. For instance, both Beowulf and Grendel can be considered to be outcasts. While Beowulf can be considered to be an outcast because of his constant travelling and because he does not have any single place to really call home, Grendel is an outcast because he is a monster and a villain. Furthermore, both Beowulf and Grendel are loners; it can be argued that Beowulf's heroic qualities have forced him to be a solitary warrior in order to protect those around him. On the other hand, Grendel is a loner because he is a unique creature and a descendent of Cain; because Cain was cast out from his home, it can be assumed that Grendel also suffers the same fate. In Beowulf, Beowulf and Grendel are also driven by anger; Grendel's anger is rooted in Heorot's warriors' joy and merriment whereas Beowulf's…

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