Unit 1’s introduction to the five great themes of world literature states with regard to the hero: “the surest way to understand what a culture of the past most values is to focus on what it considers heroic, in that a culture recognizes its heroes as embodying its most important ideas, the values that are essential.”

Unit 1’s introduction to the Five Great Themes of World Literature states with regard to the hero: “The surest way to understand what a culture of the past most values is to focus on what it considers heroic, in that a culture recognizes its heroes as embodying its most important ideas, the values that are essential.” Discuss the diverse values that our two epic heroes, Gilgamesh and Odysseus, embody. Which values embodied by these epic heroes are endorsed or celebrated by their societies? Are any of their values condemned or rejected by their societies? Illustrate your discussion with specific examples of the heroes’ obligations to their societies and what their values reflect about their cultures. At some point in your essay, be sure to directly compare/contrast the heroes and their texts’ respective attitudes toward heroism.

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