World Literature 2111 Comparing Gilgamesh and the Odyssey

For this assignment, you’ll explore the topic below, comparing and contrasting Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, and write a 6-10 paragraph essay arguing for and supporting your conclusions. This assignment will build your writing and analysis skills.

researching other secondary sources is not required for this assignment.

The topic will be over the following

  • Both Gilgamesh and the Odyssey have central female characters, both mortal ones and goddesses. Discuss how the two epics deal with such subjects as
    • what power women have;
    • how central the women are to the events in the epics;
    • to what extend the goddesses exhibit characteristics similar to mortal women;
    • whether women are portrayed as having flaws or traits that are unique to females.

From Gilgamesh, focus on Siduri and possibly Ishtar, Ninsun, or Shamash; for Homer, you have many options, including Penelope, Athena, Anticleia, Circe, Calypso, and Nausicaa. One of the passages you should quote (all or in part) and analyze is the following:

When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man (25).

write an essay presenting your argument. Include quotations from the texts as well as additional details that illustrate and enhance the points you are making. Use the following as an outline of what to include:

  1. Explain the general topic and relevant themes (e.g. heroes, women) and any relevant terms for that topic (suggested 1-2 paragraphs).
  2. Apply that topic to both Gilgamesh and to the Odyssey (suggested 4-6 paragraphs). Give specific examples and quotes from the texts to illustrate your points. Use in-text citations for the quotations.
  3. Your final page should be your Works Cited page, in MLA format. It should include the literary texts, as well as any content pages from the course material to which you may have referred. You’ll be graded on your ability to explain and analyze your topic thoughtfully through your writing, as well as on your language, organization, and MLA formatting.
  4. Criteria on which you will be graded:
    • Your compare/contrast arguments are thoughtful
    • Your essay is well-organized
    • Your analysis is specific and original
    • Your use of language is clear and effective
    • Your quotations and Works Cited are correctly formatted in MLA style
    • Demonstrates mastery of skill in the objective and critical understanding of the topic
    • Clear sense of order and completeness; clear central idea that relates to the topic and is sharply observed
    • Well-developed with many specific details; points are logically developed
    • Vivid vocabulary; effective transitions; sophisticated sentences; no major errors and few minor errors.
    • Each body paragraph contains at least one quotation from the required sources. Sources are documented correctly using MLA style in in-text citations and on the Works Cited page.

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