Gilgamesh and Wisdom

Topics: Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, Epic poetry Pages: 2 (743 words) Published: November 12, 2012
Most people define wisdom as knowledge of what is true joined with just judgement. In order to understand The Epic of Gilgamesh, it is vital to realize how the people of that time perceived wisdom. Throughout this novel, we learn many lessons from King Gilgamesh. In my opinion, he advises us to become aware of what we are passionate about in life, and to establish the proper way to live it out. Gilgamesh was transformed from a selfish King into discovering the wisdom necessary to strike harmony with his divine and mortal attributes. It is this that allows me to stand firm when stating Gilgamesh is an epitome of attaining wisdom.

To begin with, wisdom can be approached in a variety of ways in The Epic of Gilgamesh. The hero of the legend, Gilgamesh, acquires wisdom in different instances throughout this story. At the beginning, Gilgamesh is considered to be the greatest of all men, the most powerful of all warriors, and the most aspiring of builders. In the epic, Gilgamesh is also described to be two parts god and one part human. After reading the account, I disagree. Even though Gilgamesh possessed knowledge, he did not undergo using it correctly. It is this that leads me to believe he did not have wisdom in the opening of the epic. The way he treated his people was abhorrent, and appalling at times. With ceaseless battles, forced labor, and irresponsible exercises of power, his subjects were exhausted. He even believed he had the right to sleep with whatever woman he desired, whether it be a bride on her wedding night to the daughter of a noble. It is not until Enkidu becomes a part of Gilgamesh’s life that Gilgamesh realizes how he should have been living all along. Enkidu is Gilgamesh’s near equal. He serves as a counterweight to Gilgamesh’s restless energies, and is basically Gilgamesh’s conscience. I consider Enkidu to be the better half of Gilgamesh. He ultimately ended up being a major influence upon him, evolving Gilgamesh from a tyrant into...
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