Gods in Gilgamesh and Iliad

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For as long as humans exist, they carry the faith in gods or other supernatural forces in their hearts. It supports them in difficult situations, inspires creativity and good deeds, helps explain and understand the unknown, and gives hope for the better future. Literature is not an exception: gods are present in the earliest literary works that followed the invention of writing. “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and Homer’s “Iliad” are two good examples of god’s influence on human’s lives in literature. Both of these works illustrate the close relationship between gods and people, god’s constant interference in human’s daily affairs, and even the resemblance of their characters. Gods play a major role in both of the stories. Whenever somebody feels helpless, they pray to gods and ask for their assistance and support. In “The Epic of Gilgamesh” people of Uruk pray to gods to send a match for their king Gilgamesh because, being two-thirds god, he is so strong and energetic that he is constantly bothering the young men with fighting and “leaves no girl to her mother.” (Gilgamesh, 101) The gods hear the prayer and send them Enkidu. Homer’s “Iliad” starts with the Chryses, who was Apollo’s priest, praying to him for help after Agamemnon refuses to return his daughter. Apollo cares about his priest because his often sacrifices and “the temple that pleased” him that he has built in his honor. (Homer, 231) Gods help people in exchange for the worship and admiration. It is not unusual for the gods to have children with humans. Gilgamesh was a son of “Ninsun, a goddess called “the wild cow.” (Gilgamesh, 100) In “Iliad,” Achilles is the son of the sea nymph Thetis. The close family ties with the gods contribute to special treatment of both protagonists and increase their influence among people and their chances of success. The special relationships between gods and people encourage
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