We have all at one point in our lives asked ourselves “why do I struggle?” We may not have found the answer to this question yet, and may still be searching for the answer. “Why did Achilles, Gilgamesh, and Oedipus Rex struggle?”
Achilles’ struggle was to learn and listen and to not do something again. When Achilles got mad at Agamemnon, he decided that he was not going to fight in the war. This helped cause the death of his best friend Patroclus. From the Illiad, “On hearing of Patroclus’s death, Achilles [was] overcome with grief and rage. Vowing to avenge his friend, he finally [returned] to the battle.” Achilles learned not to run away from his problems and that when times get tough, you have to stick with them.
Gilgamesh’s struggle was to find himself and gain knowledge. Like Achilles, Gilgamesh’s best friend died. After seeing death, Gilgamesh became afraid of it. Gilgamesh wanted to have everlasting life, so he went on a long journey to Utnapishtim.
Through the death of Patroclus and the long journey to Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh struggled. The reward of his struggle was the gain of knowledge. “There is a plant that grows….. which restores his lost youth to a man”, according to The Holt Reader. When Gilgamesh came back from his long journey he did not have everlasting life, but he had something better. Gilgamesh finally knew who he was.
Oedipus struggled throughout his entire life to find who he really was. In the end of the epic, he finally found out and discovered who his real mother and father were. Oedipus found out that he had married his mother and killed his father. Oedipus said, “Damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, Damned in the blood he shed with his own hand.” He also struggled to find and gain knowledge of who he truly was.
Throughout history, epic heroes have struggled for many reasons. These are just some of those heroes and why they had to struggle.
The struggles we go through at times feel like the hardest thing. However, sometimes it’s the struggle that we are going through that puts on the path to the exact thing that we need. We have to believe that we will get through it all and come out of all of it a better person.