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Word Count: 1,053
One of the common themes in The Iliad and Gilgamesh is that of death The characters realization of mortality shapes their actions in life Their fear of death and acceptance of their fate causes characters to search for purpose in their lives so they have a legacy to leave behind In each case passion proves to be the key whether it manifest itself in the form of friendship romantic love or glorifying their country and protecting their families and the beauty of their homelandsTowards the beginnings of the tales characters realize their inevitable fate and are afraid of death As Agamemnon simply states death submits to no one Iliad 9 190 His words emphasize the relentlessness of death portraying it as a powerful force to be feared All humans regardless of their achievements will eventually be conquered by death and the characters struggle with this realization Hector reiterates this idea And fate No one alive has ever escaped it neither brave man nor coward I tell you its born with us the day that we are born Iliad 6 448-50 The characters first reaction is fear knowing that they cannot change their fate and must eventually die Thetis is a good example of this sense of hopelessness for she fears her son will live in vain doomed to a short life you have so little time And not only short now but filled with heartbreak too Iliad 1 496-7 She believes that since her son is destined to die young he will not have time to earn honor and she fears his life will be filled with heartbreak and sorrow Gilgamesh metaphorically states a similar idea he who leaves the fight unfinished is not at peace Gilgamesh 2 22 2 In this passage he recognizes that one is given limited time in life and peace does not come with death unless one finishes the fight Gilgamesh fears that he may not have
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