Introduction – Comparison Between Gilgamesh to the Monkey King Paper:
It is quite evident that through stories and literature we learn a lot about different cultures as well as about the great civilizations in different parts of the globe. Gilgamesh and the Monkey King are two different stories from different background settings and they are in one way or the other similar and at the same time they have distinctive features as the narrators try to put across their points to the readers of these stories. This essay will examine some of the things which are common between the Handsome Monkey King and Gilgamesh. In addition to, this essay will try to explain the reasons which are making these two characters untypical heroes.
Typically Gilgamesh comes from western civilization and he believes that he has one precious life that he is living, he is far more likely to have his companions fight his battle(s) for him, far more likely to place them in immediate danger, and far more likely to think first of saving his own skin . On the other hand Handsome Monkey King hail from the Eastern tradition, he loves to jump into the fray, bravely fighting his adversaries and leading his companions into the midst of challenges that Gilgamesh seems totally afraid to confront.
Similarities between Gilgamesh and the handsome Monkey king
When it comes to giving a comparison between the Handsome Monkey King and the ancient heroes of Gilgamesh we find that these two characters are endowed with intriguing nature and at the same time they are surprising. Indeed the writers of these two characters come from two distinct civilizations which are totally different whereby the writer of the Handsome Monkey King comes from eastern civilization and the later come from civilization. What makes these stories very surprising is the nature of character similarities which have been developed by respective authors, it is quite evident that the themes and the roles played by both characters are relatively the same yet the writers and settings of the two stories are from two continents which are distinctly separate in nature.
Gilgamesh has been described by the author of the story as one of the world’s first super-hero, thus as we read the story we discover Gilgamesh deeds that are dating back to as early as 2000 BC. From the tablet, Gilgamesh is described as “two-thirds god and one-third human, is the greatest king on earth and the strongest super-human that ever existed; however, he is young and oppresses his people harshly” This is also evident in the description that has been given to the Handsome Monkey King for instance he has been described as a ‘stone monkey’ with extraordinary skills. “This stone monkey is an extraordinary creature of boundless energy and “steely eyes” that shoot “golden light.” These character traits given to the Handsome Monkey King attracts the attention of the divine forces of intelligence, which the author of the story calls “Thousand-League-Eye and Wind-Knowing-Ears” (Study). From these two comparisons, Gilgamesh and the Handsome Monkey king have been given extraordinary powers, for example, at one hand both are at the same level with other human beings and on the other hand both are at the level of God or at the same level with supernatural beings
In addition to this, Gilgamesh and the Handsome Monkey King are on constant journey and as leaders we can describe this journey as the daily human experiences taking place as we try to meet our daily needs. It is quite evident from the two stories that these two characters start their journey by oppressing those who are under them however as time goes, they turn out to become super-heroes and they are echoed by the very people who they had oppressed at first for their help that they give to the,
Another similarity between Gilgamesh and the Handsome Monkey King is that as they continue with their heroic journey they seek for fortune and redemption. The means of achieving or getting fortunate and redemption by these two characters might be different because they come from two different civilizations whose cultures are totally different for example the western culture which Gilgamesh comes from is monotheistic while the one for the Handsome Monkey King is pagan in nature. The differences in terms of religion do not deter the two characters from working through the paths they have taken with the aim of meeting their ultimate goal of getting their fortune and redemption.
Furthermore Gilgamesh fears death while on the other hand the Handsome Monkey Kings who comes with new scriptures fights against demons and he is perceived by many as the heavenly warrior. Indeed these brings the two characters to an equal measure and as readers both want to remain as immortal beings just like their god or the gods of the people. It is through their journey that these two characters return back as wise with a lot of knowledge and information which makes people to like and to love them even though they had oppressed them when they came to power as new rulers of these two distinct civilizations of the world .
As much as other people point out that there are great or a lot of differences between these two main characters, readers remain asking themselves the surprising nature employed by authors of these stories because the two main characters Gilgamesh and the Handsome Monkey king remain unique with amazing similarities as they lead people from different civilizations western and eastern civilizations respectively. The asked by readers of these two stories is, how did the two authors from different continents develop two stories whose themes and traits of the main characters are in one way or the other similar to one another.
Importance of the Similarities- Gilgamesh to the Monkey King
As we read these two stories we find out that these similarities play a vital role and indeed it makes any reader of the two stories to ask himself/herself a number of questions. As mentioned earlier the main similarity between these two characters is that they oppress people however they become heroes and they are loved for what they do to their people. This shows us the extend in which leaders in our contemporary society use their position to oppress the ruled and in addition to this they become good and people start having positive attitude towards them.
In addition to this, the character of these two characters that puts them in an extra ordinary position whereby they are at the same level with the supreme beings as well as with those people whom they rule plays a vital role. This similarity enables readers of the two stories to understand the reasons why leaders especially in our contemporary society are more equal than those whom they rule. As a matter of fact, just like these two characters rulers in our contemporary society are at higher level than their subjects and in some instances or cases they are worshiped by their subjects.
Furthermore, the paths of life taken by these characters reflect our daily lives as we try to make ends meet. Indeed the ultimate goal of every human being more so a leader is to get his/her fortune and as a result of this many fear death and just like the Handsome Monkey King work head to toe as they fight against demons because many people believe that demons makes it hard for human beings to achieve their fortune, thus in order to get this ultimate fortunate one should ensure that he/she overcomes the challenges posed by demons to his/her way.
Why Gilgamesh and the Monkey King is untypical leaders
Many people ask the question, why are the two characters (Gilgamesh and the Monkey king) untypical leaders? This is quite evident from the two scenarios and from the word go or from the beginning of this two stories, Gilgamesh and the Monkey king are brought out as selfish leaders. This is true from the way they treat people and in fact some people oppose their leadership. In addition to this, the power given to these two characters makes them more supernatural and in fact at one level they have similar powers to the Supreme Being. These comparison or power makes them more than those whom they rule, thus readers remain questioning whether these are leaders just like any other leaders or they are god given leaders? Indeed these powers make them untypical leaders.
Issues raised by these two stories- Gilgamesh and The Monkey King
The question, do the above mentioned similarities mean that both stories are about the same issues is important to consider. In my understanding and opinion the above similarities gives readers an epic or a clear understanding of some of the issues that are addressed by the authors of these two different stories. Some of the stories addressed by these stories are the role of religion in our society especially when it comes to the relationship between man and his creator. In addition to this, the other issues which is similar in these stories is leadership more so the powers given to leaders who turn the position they have been given and use it to oppress their subjects.