McCarthy, Andrew; Musumeci, Salvatore; Palmer, Heather
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
When considering epic heroes like Gilgamesh and Beowulf, it is readily apparent that they are products of patriarchal societies, and, consequently, masculinity is an inherent consideration when defining heroism. Gender is not a neutral aspect of the human experience, nor is it uniform across socio-cultural boundaries; rather, individual cultures determine the range of appropriate and desirable behavior for each gender. Thus, the concept of gender is central to every human being, and especially to the epic heroes Gilgamesh and Beowulf whose masculine achievements shape the course of their tales. Though these heroes come from extremely different times and places, there are common denominators within the Mesopotamian and Anglo-Saxon constructs of masculinity that contribute to the characteristics of these renowned heroes—and they are some fascinating differences, too. An epic presents not the reality but the ideal state of the culture from which it comes; Gilgamesh and Beowulf, then, are the embodiments of the values that their respective cultures hold dear. Each is the epitome of masculinity.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Gilgamesh; Epic poetry, Assyro-Babylonian -- History and criticism; Beowulf; Epic poetry, English (Old) -- History and criticism.
Poe, Rachael Scott, "Engendering epic: heroism as constructed masculinity in the epics of Gilgamesh and Beowulf" (2015). Honors Theses.