- September 12, 2012
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Free essays
Characters of ancient epic works often bear supernatural traits which are not commonly typical for humans. Nevertheless, they personify the vision of human of their own life, which is often exaggerated and extrapolated on the mythical ground. In spite of mystic elements, characters of ancient epic works possess, they are still humans and have characteristics which are typical for ordinary human beings. This is why it is possible to apply Freudian methods of psychoanalysis to understand these characters, their psychology, internal inclinations and desires. In this respect, it is possible to refer to Enkidu, one of the central figures of “The Epic of Gilgamesh”¯, and Humahpu, one of the Hero Twins in the Mayan mythology. Both characters are unique and they are different from ordinary, but they are still influenced by dreams and internal inclinations which guide their actions in the course of their life.
Enkidu is the central figure of “The Epic of Gilgamesh”¯. He was raised up among wild animals and had never seen humans until his adult life. This fact apparently influenced his entire life and his behavior because he lacked the communication with other people. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that he did not know his parents, especially his father. Naturally in his adult life, he attempts to compensate the lack of parental care and love. In such a way, he searches for a person who could guide him, lead him and control him. It is Gilgamesh who eventually becomes such a person.
At first glance Gilgamesh should be enemy because Enkidu fights against Gilgamesh and loses that means that his power and physical force, which were renowned before his defeat, were challenged by Gilgamesh. Enkidu has forces to carry on the struggle in another fight, but he is unwilling to continue his struggle. Instead, he prefers to give in and, what is more important, he becomes a devoted servant of Gilgamesh, who becomes his only master. In this respect, it is possible to trace the lack of father, whom Enkidu has never known since his childhood.
Consequently, Gilgamesh, who has proved to be stronger than Enkidu, gains his respect and becomes a kind of father for Enkidu. In this respect, it is necessary to take into consideration two factors: the physical force of Gilgamesh and his social status.
Obviously, Enkidu has learned the importance of physical force and he respects physical force of an individual which clearly defines his position in the society. From the wild nature he has learned that the stronger rules while the weaker obeys. This is why he obeys to Gilgamesh because he is stronger. In addition, Gilgamesh has a high social status, he is a king. Hence, Enkidu cannot disobey to the person who takes the highest social position among all people. This is why he becomes a devoted servant of Gilgamesh whom he accepts as the ruler and who substitutes a father for Enkidu, whom he missed so much.
At the same time, it is important to refer to sexual desires of Enkidu. In fact, he loses the fight after he has sexual relationships with a temple prostitute Shamhat. In such a way, Enkidu realizes his natural sexual desires and it seems as if he meets his major goal and after the sexual intercourse he is unmotivated to keep struggling on and on. Instead, he slips to routine, casual life, where he becomes an ordinary man like many others. In such a way, the realization of his subconscious desires leads him to the total change of his personality as he changes from a wild, savage fighter into an ordinary, but yet strong man.
In such a context, it is possible to counsel Enkidu to balance his life and avoid the blindfold obedience to Gilgamesh. He should understand that no one can replace his father and Gilgamesh, whatever powerful he is, cannot be his father. Moreover, he is not superior to Enkidu, while his defeat does not necessarily mean his own weakness. He should regain his confidence and balance his life. Probably he needs to create a family where he could feel powerful and responsible and take the lead himself, instead of following the lead of Gilgamesh. Anyway it was Enkidu who used to “scattered the wolves, and chased the lions”¯ (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 58).
As for Hunahpu, he knew his father but he was closely attached to his twin brother. In fact, it is hardly possible to distinguish the identity of the twins. In such a way, Hunahpu’s identity seems to be lost in the identity of his twin brother. In other words, the twins have one identity that naturally deprives Hunahpu of the ability to act independently. No wonder, his twin brother Xbalanque says: “That’s us”¦ we always stick together. Chop anything off and we just stick it back”¯ (The Hero-Twins, 31). In such a way, Hunahpu is always with his brother naturally affects his actions, behavior and life at large.
In this respect, it should be said that Hunahpu should change his attitude toward his brother and to his own personality because he cannot live the entire life in the shadow of his brother or along with his brother. He needs to shape his own identity, he needs to find his way of life and the ball play is not the only activity we he can succeed. However, he is successful in the ball play, when he plays together with his brother. This game approaches him to Gods. Therefore, he is unwilling to change his activities and lifestyle at large.
Consequently, it is necessary to work on his self-esteem, since it is important to increase his self-esteem and make him confident in his own power. In such a way, he will be able to perceive himself as an independent personality. Probably, he has to be separated from his brother for certain period of time to understand that he can live pretty well on his own and that his brother is not another Hunahpu, but he is a different person, he is Xbalanque.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the main characters of “The Epic of Gilgamesh”¯ and “The Hero Twins”¯ are different, but, at the same time, they have similar problems since they cannot live independently. They need someone who could support and guide them. In case of Enkidu, this problem is provoked by the lack of parental care, while in the case of Hunahpu, this problem is caused by his life with his brother, whom he cannot separate with.