Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh
The epic of Gilgamesh is the earliest primary document discovered in human history dating back to approximately 2,000 B.C.E. This document tells a story of an ancient King Gilgamesh, ruler of Sumer in 2,700 B.C.E. who is created gloriously by gods as one third man and two third god. In this epic, Gilgamesh begins his kingship as an audacious and immature ruler. Exhausted from complaints, the gods send a wild man named Enkidu to become civilized and assist Gilgamesh to mature into a righteous leader. However, Enkidus death causes Gilgamesh to realize his fear of immortality and search for an escape from death. On his journey, Gilgamesh learns that the gods will not grant his wish and that he must accept his destiny (In Search of Eternal Life, 1). . By analyzing this story, one is able to deduce the ways it has entertained, educated, and enlightened the Mesopotamian culture in ancient times. It provides examples of ideal leaderiship, proper lifestyles, and gender roles.
The epic insinuates ancient Mesopotamian’s perspective of an ideal kingship by illustrating malapropos behaviors of the Sumerian ruler. The epic reflects on the rulers past explaining Gilgamesh disappoints his gods and the Sumerian city with his selfish behaviors such as sleeping with many women, including virgins (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 2). Consequently, his careless actions cause him to lose the trust and respect of his observers. This demonstrates that Mesopotamian society viewed these behaviors as inappropriate qualities for a honorable leader. From this, we can conclude that Mesopotamians believed a successful leader needs to be able to create trustworthy relationships between others and acquire the ability to demonstrate respect towards those who are in higher and lower political power than he or she. Further, the epic opens by depicting what a noble and divine leader Gilgamesh was. For instance, the author writes “He went on a long journey… he...
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