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Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus (Essay Sample)


Assignment 2: Project Paper – Comparative Essay
Due Week 8 and worth 200 points
This “Assignment 2” writing assignment is a comparative essay focused on topics encountered in our HUM 111 class. The project will be based on research but will reflect your views and interpretation of the topic. This project is designed to help you stretch your mind and your abilities as an organized, innovative, and critical thinker. If approached properly, it should also be fun!
Choose one (1) of the topics from the list of topic choices below. Read the topic carefully. Write a three to four (3-4) page paper (750-1,000 words) that follows instructions and covers each part of the topic. (The title page and References list do not get included in this word count).
Note: Your instructor may require you to submit your topic choice for approval before the end of Week 5.
For the topic you choose:
1.Establish a clear thesis about your topic as part of the introductory paragraph (often the thesis is the last thing one determines after doing the basic research and outline; however it will be placed in the first paragraph of your paper).
2.This is a comparative essay. Comparison approached properly will require some critical thinking on your part. Use a point-by-point approach for the essay. That means, if comparing subject A with subject B, don't do the first half of the essay on subject A and then the second half on subject B--that will seem like two (2) separate essays and comparisons will tend to get lost. Instead, you should be mentioning both subjects in most of your paragraphs as you compare them throughout the essay. Comparisons will identify similarities as well as contrasts.
3.Do not try to do everything on your two (2) subjects. You should end up narrowing your focus to a few insights and issues about the subjects being compared. And, from those fairly specific points of comparison, you will develop a thesis and glean some lessons.
4.Follow closely the instructions below for your specific topic.
5.Include a concluding paragraph at the end. This paragraph will, in some way, refer back to the thesis established in your first paragraph, since now you have demonstrated and supported it. It may be here that you also include your observations relating your study to the modern workplace or society (see your topic). Try to finish with flair!
6.Use at least three (3) good quality academic sources, with one (1) source being the class text. Note: Wikipedia and other similar Websites do not qualify as academic resources. You are highly encouraged to use the Resource Center tab at the top of your Blackboard page.
Topic Choices – Choose just one (1) of the topics below:
•Qualities of the Hero: Comparing Gilgamesh and Odysseus. Write an essay comparing these two (2) heroic figures from ancient epics of different cultures, especially focusing your analysis on the sources about their encounters with monsters: Gilgamesh encounters the monster guarding the forest, Humbaba, in Tablets 3-5 of the Epic of Gilgamesh (see http://www(dot)sacred-texts(dot)com/ane/eog/ ). Odysseus encounters Polyphemus the Cyclops in Book 9 of The Odyssey (see http://www(dot)theoi(dot)com/Text/HomerOdyssey9.html; from line 105 to the end). Your paper should: 
a) Compare Gilgamesh and Odysseus as to their heroic qualities, noting similarities and differences, using specific examples from the epics.
b) Summarize what this indicates about differences between ancient Mesopotamian and Greek cultures in their ideals and expectations.
c) From this comparison, suggest ways that current cultural ideals and expectations shape modern notions about role models and heroes.


The Concept of the Hero in Gilgamesh and Odysseus
The Concept of the Hero in Gilgamesh and Odysseus
Gilgamesh and Odysseus are two heroes who lived in two varying time frames that were both striving to find the meaning of life. The Gilgamesh epic had its roots in early Mesopotamia while Odyssey was developed in early Greece. Despite the passage of time, both Gilgamesh and Odyssey have remained very popular and are constantly referred to by literature students and teachers from all over the world. Although there are many things that can be learned from the Gilgamesh and Odyssey epics, the most important ones are how heroes from these two societies were defined and regarded.
The epics of Gilgamesh and Odyssey present great similarities on heroes in both the Mesopotamia and Greek cultures. Although these two heroes lived in different time-frames, they were both self-confident. Gilgamesh from the epic Gilgamesh was the ancient king of Uruk in Babylonia, while Odysseus from the epic Odyssey was the leader of Ithaca in Greece. A close study of Gilgamesh presents him as someone that was overly confident (Abusch, 2001). This confidence made him to be chosen as the ruler of the people as they believed that he could protect them from their oppressors. Even though Odysseus did not possess much physical strength such as Gilgamesh, he was nonetheless self confident and he used this confidence and wit to deliver victory to the Greeks during the Trojan War. During the Trojan War, Odysseus faced instant death if found out but he persisted despite the danger that was facing him. The manner in which Gilgamesh and Odysseus conducted themselves before their people reveals ...
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