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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gilgamesh possesses many of the classic characteristics of the hero, which set him apart from ordinary people.

His first heroic characteristic is his ancestry. He is two thirds divine and one third human. Many heroes in ancient epics share this characteristic of partially divine ancestry. He is also a king; most heroes in epics are either kings or nobles. 

Next, he is unusually imposing physically:

A perfect body the gods gave ...

The form of his body no one can match

Eleven cubits high he is, nine spans his chest ...

As well as being larger than most people, he is handsome and extremely strong. The gods are also portrayed as giving him courage. 

His deeds are also heroic, involving defeating monsters by means of his physical prowess and engaging in a quest which requires superhuman physical strength and endurance. He demonstrates great loyalty to his friend Enkidu. The Prologue describes him as having rebuilt the city of Uruk after the flood, making him a contributor to civic life.

Finally, despite his bad behavior at the opening of the epic, through his friendship with Enkidu he develops a moral sense and becomes a wise and just king.

tevtavuniwaqa | Student

Gilgamesh was created by the gods.There was no man as strong or as large as he was.He build the city of Uruk and became the ruler of its people.But as time went by Gilgamesh became too proud of his great strength and eager to show it in battles.His heroic gesture to search for Utanapishtim so that he can become immortal .A great hero will always return to its people.

lisarenee89 | Student

Gilgamesh was faced with many obstacles that would send the strongest of men running. He went against the monster of Humbaba and won. He did this in the name of others. Many feared for Gilgamesh because the monster was a terror to all. Gilgamesh was able to outsmart him though and beheaded the monster. He put his life in danger for others.

Gilgamesh's journey for immortality was the biggest example of how he was heroic. He went in search for immortality, and when he finally found it-he thought of others that could benefit from the herb. This showed selflessness and that he put his people above himself-something that many leaders often do not do. He was ready to give up his chance at immortality for the elderly and sickly of his kingdom.

Read the study guide:
The Epic of Gilgamesh

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