Heros and Their Human Traits
“Who is the noblest hero? The man who conquers his senses” a quote from Bhartrihara. Heros is what is seen throughout ancient epics. Heros are, to many, seen like gods. Many heros are two parts god or have a father who is a god. Although there is god in their blood they are still human. Throughout the epics, The Iliad, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Bhagavad-Gita, the epic heros contain a characteristic that makes them more human.
Achilles, the hero of The Iliad, is flawed with too much pride. During the scene where Achilles has now finally captured Hector, Hector had slain one of Achilles’s close friends, Achilles had struck hector in the throat with his sword. Achilles was careful not to cut his windpipe so he could talk back. Hector pleaded and begged Achilles to give him a proper burial, but Achilles did nothing but laugh in his face, “Beg me no beggary by soul or parents, whining dog!” Achilles then takes Hector’s naked body and drags it over his friends grave. Achilles’s pride almost overtook his other traits and this flaw demonstrates the fact that Achilles was still human.
The hero from the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna, did not posses such super-human strength as Achilles did but is still classified as a hero. Arjuna was stuck with the choice of fighting ones in which he respected. What he wanted was to not fight, “how can I fight against Bhishma and Drona with arrows when they deserve my worship?” Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer who is really a god tries to convince Arjuna to fight. Arjuna tells Krishna that he will not fight. By doing this it shows that although he is a hero he still contains his human feelings of compassion toward others.
On the other hand in The Epic of Gilamesh, Gilgamesh’s characteristic is almost like a flaw. Gilgamesh is very arrogant and continually overstepped his boundaries as a ruler. A bull from the heavens had been sent to fight Gilgamesh and he killed the bull knowing it would make the gods angry. By doing this it shows his arrogance. Later on, when talking to Siduri he says, “for I am Gilgamesh who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven, I killed the watchman of cedar forest, and I overthrew Humbaba who lived in the forest, and I killed the lions in the passes of the mountain.” By gloating at the fact that he killed the bull and praising himself it further demonstrates that he is extremely arrogant.
The heros in these epic all have one thing in common and that is the fact that they are still human no matter what they do. As humans they cannot hide their personality. It contains all their human like characteristics. Gilgamesh is two-thirds divine but still is one-third human. No matter what the hero is like he or she will always contain, either through their thoughts or actions, a characteristic that makes them more human.