October 1, 2012
A Hero’s Journey
Throughout the history of literature there have been stories about heroes and their journeys. Theses stories may not be the same, but they are always similar. The story begins with a call to cross the threshold to the unknown. During the journey, the hero is transformed either physical or emotionally. Eventually, the hero returns to the life he or she led before. The main characters in the poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh and the modern day version of this story, the movie, Hancock, are no different. Although they take place thousands of years apart, ultimately both heroes embark on a hero’s journey through separation, initiation and eventually they return.
As the hero’s journeys begin they seem to refuse the call. Gilgamesh does whatever he wants; he “tak[es] the son from the father…wives of other men… keeps boys from fathers” (3). Likewise, appears to have no positive purpose. Although he is fighting crime, he refuses to acknowledge that he wants to help. Interestingly, both characters are supported by a supernatural aid. Gilgamesh’s help comes in the form of Enkidu and Ray and his family aid Hancock’s. Once these characters are united with their mentor, the hero’s leave their normal lives. Although they have not yet changed, their journey has begun.
As the characters cross the threshold their behavior changes. Gilgamesh, always the strong and fearless king, shows signs of intimidation and Enkidu must “dispel the fear felt in his heart” (28). Similarly, Ray must teach Hancock to speak to the world rather than hide behind a bottle of wine and his sunglasses and hat. With these small acts both characters let the audience know that even heroes have fears, even if they don’t readily admit it.
As the character cross over to initiation they must overcome struggles to accept their transformation. For Gilgamesh this means fighting the Bull of Heaven and for Hancock this means changing the public’s...