A hero is one who does not allow himself to become limited by his own circumstances or the deeds of those before him. According to the documentary Joseph Campbell and the power of myth, Joseph Campbell stated, “A hero properly is someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself or other than himself.
” Joseph Campbell, a mythologist, concluded that a hero must withdraw from the real world to a place that allows him to understand the troubles of the real world, which results from the hero defying the order of human life and quality. Western civilization’s first literary hero is an epic hero named Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was created in a long narrative poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh, by a priest named Sin-leqi-unninni. Sin-leqi-unninni wrote the epic poem around 2700 BC on clay tablets written in cuneiform, and in the nineteenth century it was found and reconstructed. Gilgamesh was the son of Lugalbanda and the goddess, Ninsun. Gilgamesh was widely known as the half mythic King of Uruk in Ancient Mesopotamia, where he built great walls and worked his people to the point where they would ask the gods for solace.
In the ancient Greek world, epics were the most popular forms of writing. Epics served as entertainment and a way for ancient Greeks to preserve and spread their culture orally. During the Mesopotamian times, epics had a huge impact on societies historical, constitutional and ethnological mechanisms (Foley 556). Despite culture and time difference, every literary hero must go through a series of challenging stages to achieve their goals and discover self-knowledge, according to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
The heroes found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, Things Fall Apart, and Beowulf prove Joseph Campbell’s theory about the archetypal hero and his journey by emphasizing specific events that symbolize the triumphs and downfalls the hero must undergo.