Gilgamesh and Achilles


Both Gilgamesh and Achilles have been portrayed as being heroes in the different epic tales where they contributed. Their powers are greater than that of the ordinary man but less than that of God. To both of them, their speeds and strength exceeds that of the normal men. These individuals are also portrayed as having a certain point in their bodies which when interfered with makes them weak however, with all their strengths Gilgamesh seems to be more heroic than the Achilles. There is a balance between Gilgamesh life in the battle and his social and family life which lacks in Achilles life. The epic of Gilgamesh makes Gilgamesh to appear as a super natural hero who conquers difficult journeys, fights against monsters and wins the battle, etc. On the side of the Achilles, he is portrayed as being an angry man who does things that a natural being cannot do but doesn’t mind much about the lives of the other peers in the battle.

The Achilles

Achilles Values

In the Lliad, one of the values that have been emphasized is the heroism of the Achilles whose interests are glory and honor. Achilles was interested in big honors and good reputation and these inspires him a lot in the whole story. According to Achilles, the gifts that he received just show the glory that he has acquired. His heroism is seen when he is ready to spend anything to prevent the loss of Briseis. If anybody dared take the Briseis from him, Achilles could do anything to regain it back (Stathis, 1). This can be seen when Agamemnon takes the war price that belonged to Achilles. On this particular incident, Achilles is ready to kill an Agamemnon using his sword. Fortunately, just before he used his sword against Agamemnon, a god stops him from using that sword. Both Achilles and Agamemnon have a quest to be immortalized in history and both of them are very proud. Due to his position as the commanding officer of the Greeks, Agamemnon feels that he should be the one in possession of the Briseis. The reason that Achilles gives for his participation the Trojan War was that he was fighting for pride and glory. After all, he argues that his father had a lot of wealth and therefore there was no

Gilgamesh and Achilles

importance participating for such an exercise for money purposes (Stathis, 1). The pride and glory that Achilles was fighting for were purely meant to make him unique and distinguishable among all the others. Achilles decided to revenge for the demise of one of his inmates but the sole intention of the revenge was to receive more glory.

During the wars, the Greeks were hit by two misfortunes. The first misfortune was the effect of the withdrawal of the Achilles from the battlefield. This greatly affected the Greeks and the Trojans since they knew that this time round, they were fighting in absence of their best warrior. The second misfortune was a plague that was god-driven as a result of Achilles prayers. This happened at a time when Achilles was not thinking in a dimension of the entire community as one but thinking of himself as an individual. Later, Achilles made a decision to rejoin the army after his companion had been killed in the battle as a result of his sending him (Stathis, 1). The embarrassment from the death and the unquenchable thirst for glory acts as the catalysts to his return to the battlefield. He believed that he will get the best honor if he succeeded in revenging for his dead companion. In this battle, Achilles fought with all that he had in order to get the honor. He managed to kill Hector which instilled some strength in the Greeks and poured the hopes of the Troy. After killing hector, he changed to a very disrespectful and a man with no feelings.

The consequences of Achilles actions on the society are not very positive and thus he cannot be considered the best hero. His interest is in his own heroism and cares little about the rest if the community. Apparently, Achilles seems to be living a heroic life but one is left wondering whether this life is a happy one especially if one judges from his engagement in peculiar ideology and personal feelings. For a community to be successful in all its activities, it is important for people to work as a team as this will also help them attend to any obstacles that may arise as a team (Stathis, 1). Again dignity in life is required in all aspects and not in one line. Honors and rewards must not come in one direction but can come in many directions such as social responsibility, respect for fellow citizens, wisdom, etc. Achilles lacks some of these attributes that define the real hero. His achievements in the battle are quite commendable but the peers do not comprehend him very much. This can be attributed to his greed for honor and glory. He lives an unbalanced life in relation to his social and family life.

Gilgamesh and Achilles


In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is portrayed as a strong man stronger than any other king. He is also portrayed as two-thirds god. Unlike Achilles, Gilgamesh is intelligent, skillful, reverent, etc. He is always dedicated to seeing to it that members of the community get the answers to their questions. He also goes out with no fear to fight for his community and not to win titles (John, 1). This way, the honors and glory come by themselves. During the battle, he always recognizes the presence of god as a guide in those battles. He also respects other people regardless of their ages or honors. Gilgamesh is loyal to people and has great respect for himself.

Gilgamesh’s skills as a leader and as a worrier have always been portrayed in the battle fields. He is a determined man who has no fear for the enemies such that he will always be in the forefront guiding other members of his community in the wars and they have always defeated their opponents (John, 1). In fact, it is said that his community is so confident that they are aware that they cannot lose to anyone since their king is always on their side and will never go back. When he fought the mighty beast Humbaba, he proved his strength since it was thought that this was the strongest and had the best tactics until he proved that he was the best.


In conclusion, it has been shown that Gilgamesh is more heroic than Achilles. Achilles seems to be driven by honor and glory regardless of how they come. To him, what matters is the glory that one gains at the end of the day. He is more concerned about the self than the community such that he even at one time withdraws from the group when it is going for the battle. He doesn’t recognize the importance of oneness when people are going for the battle. Glory and honor for him must come from the line of war and since his interest are only honor and glory, he doesn’t care much about other social and family issues in the society. Gilgamesh ahs proved to be the best hero and at the same time the best leader. He is dedicated and intelligent such that he is always working towards the success of the entire community and not for an individual. He is guided by god in everything that he does and respects other people and himself. The people in his community appreciate him as their leader and recognize his efforts including the old men

Gilgamesh and Achilles

in the community.


John, O. (2006). Gilgamesh was a True hero. Retrieved on 21, Sep 2009 from http://www.asso

Stathis, M. (2005). Is Really Achilles a Hero? Retrieved on 21, Sep 2009 from u/NR/rdonlyres/History/21H-301Fall-2004/BC0530C8-A21F-4346-A63D-22C88BD5CC22/0/pa per1_rev.pdf.