Gilgamesh and Hector - The Great Warriors

Gilgamesh and Hector - The Great Warriors

Gilgamesh and Hector are two outstanding warriors. They share many of the same characteristics. They are both leaders of there people, courageous, strong in battle, ruthless, and all around heroes. Enkidu says to Gilgamesh, "He has given you unexampled supremacy over the people, victory in battle from which no fugitive returns, in forays and assaults from which there is no going back"(17). Enkidu is explaining how the gods have created such a strong warrior as Gilgamesh. Where likewise the Iliad claims, β€œAnd headlong Hector, delirious with his strength, rages uncontrollably, trusting to Zeus – no fear of man or god, nothing – a powerful rabid frenzy has him in its grip!” (153). Hector is being described as fearless in which a leader should be. So, we see how the two of them are portrayed. But who is the better of the two? They both have similar weaknesses and that would have to be their pride. But in my opinion, the one who stands out to be the better of Gilgamesh and Hector would have to be Hector.

Gilgamesh is a great warrior as is Hector. They both fought in tough battles and came out on top. Gilgamesh didn't have as many enemies as Hector did, but he did find himself in a battle with the almighty Humbaba. "They set Humbaba before the gods, before Enlil;they kissed the ground and dropped the shroud and set the head before him"(24). When tested Gilgamesh proved to be great in battle. Whereas Hector too had a great battle in which he slayed Patroclus. Up with you no more lying low! Writhe with shame at the thought Patroclus may be sport for the dogs of Troy!" Hector ablaze for glory strained to slash each other with ruthless bronze. Hector seized the corpse's head, would not let go-- Patroclus clung to a foot and other fighters clashed trojans, Argives, all in a grueling, maming onset"(174). Both men established themselves as great warriors with these victories making them the top two leaders in my opinion. But even though they portrayed to be great hero's only one can be the absolute best. The only way to find this out is to compare the weaknesses of the two because when it comes to positives they both are very similar. The differences in their ego makes the question of whose better easier to see.

Although Gilgamesh and Hector were a lot alike, the two also had there differences. In the beginning Gilgamesh can be described as an arrogant individual who takes complete advantage of being king. As claimed by the men of Uruk, "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"(13). The actions that Gilgamesh showed as king even though, it was in the beginning were still actions that should have never been shown especially towards the people he is suppose to be setting examples towards as their leader and king. I feel like this is where Gilgamesh lacked the most and one of the main reasons why he is sencond to Hector. Hector on the other hand, put his family and people first, he would die before leaving them as he says before his people, "I would die of shame to face the men of Troy and the Trojan women trailing their long robes. Somes less of a man than I will say, 'Our Hector, staking all on his own strength, he destroyed his army!' So they will mutter. So now, better by far for me to stand up to Achilles, kill him, come home alive or die at his hands in glory out before the walls"(195). Hector, would do anything for his army and people even if he knows his chances weren't great. Hector still stands up for what he believes in and for his people, so he sacrifices his life for them. Even if it wasn't the best decision, the fact that he did still shows the nobility and heroics he portrayed. Another difference that proves vital in the decision of who is better would be their decisions in battle. Gilgamesh went into battles such as the one with Humbabu with no purpose. Gilgamesh here claims to enkidu, "Where is the man who can clamber to heaven? Only the gods live for ever with glorious Shamash, but as for us men, our days are numbered, our occupations are a breath of wind"(17). In this passage, Gilgamesh basically is saying that everyone meets there own death and was willing to sacrifice his life for a battle in which he only wanted to make a name of himself. Here, Gilgamesh is not thinking about his people. If Gilgamesh were to die he would be leaving his people out in the dry. Where as Hector as described by Iliads as, "The great champion of the Trojans, Hector, fights bravely, but reluctantly. War, for him, is a necessary evil, and he thnks nostalgically of the peaceful past, though he has little hope of peace to come."(115). Hector only fights for what he believes in and for what is best for his people.This is another difference between Gilgamesh and Hector. Hector fights for the right reasons making him in my opinion the better hero out of the two.

Even though Hector and Gilgamesh were similar, their differences proved to be the key to determine who stood out to be the better hero. Gilgamesh was a great warrior but he didn't stand out to be the leader Hector did to his people. That is of great importance when it comes to being a leader and king. Hector loved his people and loved his family. He fought for them and fought for them only. Even though he had an ego it was not as that of Gilgamesh. Hector proved himself from beginning to end.