All's Fair in Love and War

Heroes and Love

Commonality

During the course of this class, we embarked on many different types of characters, settings, and outcomes. However, the majority of our readings have a few themes in common. Most of the characters were heroes with great amounts of love for someone. Two stories that will be written about today is Homer's epic Odyssey and Sophocles' Oedipus the King.
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Love

Throughout the stories we read, one of the common themes is that of love. Whether it is loving another human being like a brother, loving someone who is miles and years apart, or trying to dismiss the truth for the one you love, it is present in what we have read.


Here are some examples of love throughout the stories:


1. Gilgamesh speaks to the tavern keeper about his loss of Enkidu; "Enkidu, whom I so loved, who went through every hardship, the fate of mankind has overtaken him" (138). Up until Enkidu died, Gilgamesh had never been close enough to anyone to truly care about them. However, Enkidu showed Gilgamesh that it is okay to trust and to open your heart to another being.


2. Another example of the love theme is that of Odysseus and Penelope. In Book V, "Odysseus' heart sang as he set sail to the wind" (391). Odysseus missed his wife Penelope so much that he couldn't wait another second to set sail back to her. In Book XIX, Penelope says to a disguised Odysseus "I just waste away with longing for Odysseus" (555). She is literally wasting away from a broken heart.


3. And lastly we have the love of Oedipus and Jokasta. A relationship that is based on the unknown. The two clearly love each other and try to dismiss the facts that Oedipus killed Jokasta's husband. After hearing the news that his "father" Polybos, Oedipus says "Darling Jokasta, my loving wife" (732).


Love is love. Whether it is prohibited love, love between friends, or love that is meant to be, it's still love.

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Heroes for the Win

Heroes come in every shape and size. Some are big, some are small, some are mortals, and some are not. In most cases, the hero saves the day. Whether they are saving someone from themselves, from nearly lost battles, or an obnoxious singing Sphinx, the hero changes the outcome. Some change the world and some just change minds.


Here are three examples of great heroes:


1. This first hero doesn't wear a fancy suit with a giant E on his chest, but Enkidu is definitely a hero in my book. When his best friend Gilgamesh is being harassed by Ishtar, Enkidu steps up and does what any best friend would do, he "tore off the bull's haunch and flung it at her" (127). He done what many would not do, stand up to a very powerful goddess.


2. Odysseus is a hero in his own right. He helped devise a plan to win the Trojan war, he put up with Calypso for years, and then he fought the fight of his life to get back home. After being spotted in the open sea, Poseidon "gathered the clouds, and gripping his trident he stirred the sea. And he raised all the blasts of every wind in the world and covered with clouds" (391-392). After being tossed around by the angry seas, Odysseus held on. Not only did he emerge a hero years before, but also by being able to withstand the angry seas.


3. Oedipus was an ordinary man, until one day he solved a riddle by a Sphinx that had the town of Thebes in her grips. The town hailed Oedipus a hero and said "you freed us from the tax we paid with our lives from that rasping singer" (709).

Conclusion

As you can see, from the many stories we have read this term, they all have several common themes. The two that stands out the most is love and being a hero. Love makes the world go round and a better place. It makes us better people because of it. Whether we receive love from our spouses, children, family, or best friends, it's a wonderful feeling.


We read about heroes every day. In some form of media outlet, there is at least one story of an act of heroism. Heroes have, as we have read, been around since the beginning of time. They are men, women, young and old. It doesn't take a large act of bravery to be a hero. Sometimes it's just being there for someone who is in desperate need of a friend.