The epic of Gilgamesh in Sumerian
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Two tales that come out of ancient civilization include Sophocles Antigone and the epic of Gilgamesh. In these two books are ruthless leads, Creon and Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh tells the story of the king of Uruk and his quest for immortality. While on this quest, Gilgamesh becomes a changed man and returns to Uruk as an appreciative and fair king. Antigone tells the story of a king named Creon who is clouded by his own power and laws that he loses everyone close to him and is left with sorrow and guilt. Ruthless leaders are often changed by their experiences in life.
Gilgamesh is viewed as a tyrannical, carless, ruthless king. Initially, “as a king, Gilgamesh was a tyrant to his people. / He demanded, from an old birthright, / the privilege of sleeping with their brides before the husbands were permitted. ” (Manson, 15) Gilgamesh, who considers himself two parts God and one part man, overworks his citizens by having them build a wall around the entire city. Gilgamesh also shows his tyrannical ways by seeing it as his birthright to sleep with virgin brides before their husbands do. While Gilgamesh was tyrannical he was also carless.
He had his citizens build the wall, “and then without an explanation/ let the walls go unattended and decay, / and left his people dreaming of the past/ and longing for a change. ” (Manson, 16) Gilgamesh had no reason to be any different is his approach as a ruler. Gilgamesh had not experienced a consequence because of his actions. Gilgamesh treats his people as a carless tyrannical king, however, he is also stubborn and reckless. Upon becoming equals with Enkidu, Gilgamesh tells Enkidu, “we go to kill the evil one, /Humbaba. ” (Manson, 27) Enkidu is very unsure of this plan.
Enkidu attempted to talk Gilgamesh out of this plan, but all Gilgamesh could think of was the ways to defeat Humbaba. Gilgamesh’s stubbornness pays off, as he defeats Humbaba. Gilgamesh, once his mind is set will not back away from a challenge. Gilgamesh was a very carless and reckless tyrannical leader. Creon, while similar is also very different. When Creon’s son, Haemon, pleads with Creon to not punish Antigone for burying Polynices, Creon states “for, having her caught in the act, alone/ Of the whole city disobeying me/I will not publicly bely myself/ but kill her. ” (Sophocles, 25). Creon does not like his power questioned.
The blind prophet Teiresias arrives and advises Creon that the gods do not approve of his actions. Teiresias states: “And sent a living soul unworthily/ to dwell within a tomb and keep a corpse. ” (Sophocles, 40) Antigone places the divine law of burying her brother Polynices above Creons law that he shall not be buried. Creon’s stubbornness gets in the way as he follows through with his execution of Antigone. When Creon’s son, Haemon was pleading with Creon to not execute Antigone. Hameon was speaking for the words of the people. The people who were afraid to speak up for fear of being labled as a traitor.