The Hero’s Quest: Comparison Between "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Epic of Gilgamesh"

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In relatively every book you read, you will find that somebody generally needs to go on a type of journey or quest. Usually most of the quests have many similarities with each other so at some point they are created from a model example. The journey on which all these hero’s go on is alluded to as the original mission. The quest on which all these heroes go on is referred to as the archetypal quest. The hero figure in “The Wizard of Oz” Dorothy is a girl from a small town in Kansas. In the other story Gilgamesh is the hero figure. The king of Uruk, but at the same time arrogant and brutal with the people in the city. Even if the two quests were from different periods of time both “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Epic of Gilgamesh” contain similar components that make them archetypal quests. There are different stages in each of the hero’s quest.

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Just about every journey it begins with character building. Introducing the protagonist while showing how they live their day to day life. One can develop a sense of understanding and appreciation for each character. Whether they are on a quest for fame, pleasuand self-fulfillment or even forced unwilling. At this point of the journey both characters are showing their everyday life in their hometown.

The character leaves his or her world and enters a new world. In the “The Epic of Gilgamesh” starts when Gilgamesh decides to fight Humbaba. It is at this point that he sets out on his journey to make himself more liked by his city. Dorothy on the other side leaves her world unwilling when a tornado sweeps her house up and she lands in the Land of Oz. During this point, their adventure has started and there is no turning back for them.

In both stories the heroes had their own mentors which usually were more superior to the hero with supernatural powers. At this point the mentors help the heroes by giving them useful advice along their journey like in Dorothy’s case or by aiding them in battle like they did with Gilgamesh. Shamash the sun god was the Gilgamesh’s mentor who with his advice help him to defeat Humbaba. On the other side Dorothy’s mentor was Glinda (Good Witch of the North) helped Dorothy since she landed in Oz. Glinda is more powerful than Dorothy and serves as a huge help throughout her quest. If it weren’t for the help of their mentors, the heroes probably wouldn’t make it through their quests.

As the heroes continues their mission they are always being tried to vanquish numerous troublesome impediments. During their way they gain some allies which help them to complete their quest. The main points of these two stories can be categorized as trials and obstacles. Gilgamesh comes across various mental and physical tests and difficulties. He must walk a dreadful four-day long journey to see Utnapishtim. Also, during his quest he must go to the bottom of the ocean to regain the sacred plant. After Gilgamesh realized that he couldn’t gain the immortality like Utnapishtim he then was tested with loaves bread from the Utnapishtim’s wife. Whereas Dorothy is tested by the Wicked Witch of the West. The witch kidnaps her and uses poppies to try to prevent Dorothy from arriving to Emerald City. Once Dorothy gets to Emerald City she is faced with an unfavorable situation when she must kill the witch of the west, only to find out the wizard of Oz is a lying crook. Throughout her journey Dorothy benefits from three main followers, the Lion, tin Man, and scarecrow. They help Dorothy get to Emerald City and by that each of them gained what they sought out for in their journey. The wizard decides to take Dorothy back home.

The hero must now travel on a different journey called the road back. Usually this road is filled with additional complications. Gilgamesh travels on his road back when he departs for his homeland of Uruk. He must take a long journey across the ocean to get back home. Now that Dorothy discovered that the Wizard doesn’t have mystical powers, she must find some other way to get back home. The heroes must now overcome additional challenges to complete their quest.

Both heroes must bring at home the treasure that they have been through all the quest. Most of the time the treasure is a physical object, but in these cases consist in life experiences and knowledge that they have gained during their journey. Gilgamesh returns to his city with new knowledge, the story of the flood and much less arrogance. Dorothy returns to her home in Kansas with great amounts of experience and knowledge. Everyone tells her she was dreaming, but she claims that it felt too real to be a dream. This is usually the point in which the story comes to an end and the mission has been accomplished.

The story of Gilgamesh is still used because it’s still a good moral story. He was a bad man then he found a friend who kind of completed him which allowed them to have a good relationship together. Then Gilgamesh’s journey made him realize that people and things pass, everything leaves, and everything dies. The quest made him a better man. For example, a good lesson he learned to overcome his superior attitude. Dorothy on the other hand despite of many trial and troubles that she continuous encounters showed her kindness to her friends and family. Her idea of helping and welcoming everyone allowed her to meet wonderful people which became her friends and helped her during her journey. Dorothy learned that our home doesn’t have to be a place it also can be some people.

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