The topic of friendship has always been a popular theme in classic stories. Apart from the theme of romance and love, friendship has been one of the focal points of classical stories and myths. Most of the time, the friendship becomes the instigator of some other emotion or feeling, like wrath, pride or jealousy…
Both stories indicate how the relationship of friends creates the story or the plotline. Although both stories do not revolve around the theme of friendship, they use friendship as an instigator or an opening for other themes to evolve into. It is not mere friendship that is presented in both epics; rather it is a deep bond of two male individuals. Since epics are stories that revolve more on war, fighting and situations of victory and defeat, the main characters are usually male. From this, we can deduce that there will be a topic of friendship somewhere within the story as war and fighting usually create a strong bond between comrades. Because they treat each other as one unit, these soldiers or warriors feel a strong connection between each other, creating a stronger bond of friendship. This is the primary reason the theme of male friendship is very prominent in epics or classical stories, since these stories are focused on wars, victories and travelling or exploration. Why is male friendship a big deal in these epics? Because the friendship, rather its end, became the catalyst for the many changes in the decisions and perspective of the main character. The main characters’ friends seem to be like the glue to their old persona and when the friendship ends, the main characters’ became lost and tried to regain their old self back through revenge, for Achilles, and exploration, for Gilgamesh. Both of the friendships have an impact on the main characters’ personal development and it created within them the need to become round characters rather than flat characters. In Iliad, Achilles and Patroclus’ friendship was clearly seen on how Achilles trusted Patroclus to carry out his armor in times when the Achaeans seem to be losing hope. Achilles allowing Patroclus to wear his armor shows how much he trusted his companion in pretending to be him to give hope to the losing warriors. It also shows how Patroclus trusted and adored Achilles when he accepted this task even if he knows that this may cause his death. On the other hand, Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s friendship started out after they battled each other. It seems that Gilgamesh developed a friendship with Enkidu because he was the only person who was able to stand up to him. Enkidu was the personification of his weakness, thus, to become his strength, he befriended the man. Their friendship was not based on adoration, unlike Achilles and Patroclus. Their friendship was based on their strength and their love for adventure. They admired and respected each other, and this was definitely seen on how Gilgamesh reacted when Enkidu stood before him to fight him in his evil ways. Achilles and Patroclus’ friendship was based more on a mentor student relationship, wherein Achilles was the teacher of Patroclus. This was clearly seen when Patroclus readily accepted the task of wearing Achilles armor and pretend to be Achilles despite knowing that it is a deadly feat to be Achilles. The poets who wrote Iliad and Gilgamesh used the death of these friendships in order to develop the characters of Gilgamesh and Achilles. In Iliad, the death of Patroclus pushed Achilles to make peace with Agamemnon to fight the Trojans, specifically Hector, in order to avenge Patroclus’ death. In Gilgamesh, the death of Enkidu made Gilgamesh search for the means on how to escape death. This allowed him to come into terms with ...
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