Kings of Heros
Fairness, loyalty, and protection are all qualities that a proper king would bestow upon his people. Such qualities are rarities amongst our recently read works, however these qualities are not always necessary for kings to be heroic. Gilgamesh, for example, takes advantage of his people's brides on their wedding nights and is a foolish ruler. Oedipus, on the other hand, helps his people cope with their problems. Between the two, Oedipus is undoubtably the best guy for the job as far as kings and leaders are categorized. Despite the two's opposites in ruling capabilities, Oedipus and Gilgamesh are very similar with their outstanding heroism.
The character of Gilgamesh evolves greatly throughout the story. His flaws as a leader are illustrated instantly in the story's beginning. "His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warriors daughters nor the wife of the noble," (13). Gilgamesh takes advantage of his people by having his way with the virgin girls of his kingdom on their wedding nights.
This total abuse of power and poor ruling is a direct reason why his heroism begins. His soon to be best friend, Enkidu, is sent to challenge him before he becomes involved with another man's wife. After fighting, Gilgamesh starts his transition from untamable tyrant to heroic companion.
Gilgamesh, with out a doubt, got the short end of the stick as a leader. Before his meeting with Enkidu, elders question his leadership saying, "is this the king, the Shepard of his people?," His people prayed for the creation of Enkidu so that he could meet his match. It seemed to me that his poor ruling was similar to an unchallenged playground bully. All that is necessary is companionship to cure his childish "because I can" attitude.
Gilgamesh has something to...