Common Theme Digital Poster

By Warren Wright

Themes in Literature

Love and Sacrifice

The Epic of Gilgamesh

"My cheeks would not be emaciated, nor my face cast down, Nor y heart wretched nor my features wasted, Nor would there be woe in my vitals, Nor would my face be like a traveler's from afar, Nor would my features be weathered by cold and sun, Nor would I be clad in a lion skin, roaming the steppe, But for my friend, swift wild donkey, mountain onager, panther of the steppe, But for Enkidu, swift wild donkey, mountain onager, panther of the steppe" (The Epic of Gilgamesh 138).

The theme of love and sacrifice in "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is very apparent in the story. Gilgamesh gains a friend and brother in Enkidu, however, because of their actions, Gilgamesh ends up losing Enkidu. This is a loss that sends Gilgamesh down a path to search for everlasting life because he has grown to fear his own mortality.

From Job

"'And, look, a great wind came from beyond the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they died. And I alone escaped to tell you.' And Job rose and tore his garment and shaved his head and fell to the earth and bowed down. And he said, 'Naked I came out from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD has given and the LORD has taken. May the LORD's name be blessed'" (From Job 194).

Job lost everything he loved in a vile attempt by the Adversary to try to prove to God that he could be broken. Even with losing everything, Job's devotion to God never waivered, and through his sacrifice, he gained more than he had before.

The Odyssey

"I'm the one that you miss, Father, right here, Back in my homeland after twenty years. But don't cry now. Hold back your tears. I'm telling you, we really have to hurry. I've killed the suitors in our house and avenged All of the wrongs that have grieved your heart" (The Odyssey 616).

Not all sacrifices end in pain and loss. In the case of Odysseus, he sacrificed most of his life away from his family in service to his people. In the end, after sacrificing so much, he was able to return home to his family.

Oedipus the King

"I wouldn't have come home to kill my father, no one could call me lover of her from whose body I came. I have no god now. I'm son to a fouled mother, I fathered children in the bed where my father once gave me deadly life. If ever an evil rules all other evils it is my evil, the life god gave to Oedipus" (Oedipus the King 742).

Probably one of the greatest stories of love and sacrifice from this term comes from "Oedipus the King." Oedipus was a great king, loving father and devoted husband. He had uprooted his entire life in order to keep a prophecy from coming true. However, in the end, his actions led directly to the prophecy he had tried so hard to avoid. In his failure, he blinded himself and demanded to be exiled away from his children.