Why is Gilgamesh is worth reading today, more than 3,000 years after the
culture that produced it disappeared?
The epic Gilgamesh is among one of the oldest known literary writings in the world. Some people may wonder how such an old story can still be relevant to today’s society, but its not a hard connection to make. The story's history is a complex one, starting from a compilation of verbal stories of the historical character Gilgamesh and ending the story which we know today. Gilgamesh is read for several reasons, one of which is to learn the meaning of life and how to not take life for granted.
Before we even begin the story we are told of fact that Gilgamesh is a “demi-god”, two-thirds god and one-third man. Gilgamesh has the beauty and courage of the gods but the mortality of man which sets the whole basis of this story. Today many people take life for granted. In a world with growing technology, our real connection to those around us is being lost. We are only human but there are some people who do not think that bad things can happen to them, they think their invincible. Many people do not think about the fact that they only have one chance to live this story reminds us of this.
The fact that Gilgamesh is mortal gives his life meaning and a purpose the same way that our lives have purpose. At the beginning of the story Gilgamesh does not see this, he sees himself as someone who can have anything he desired with little regards to anyone, it takes losing Enkidu to understand that his life is not just about him. Gilgamesh is “given” Enkidu to help him come to this realization, we are not as lucky as Gilgamesh to be given someone for this sole purpose. Enkidu teaches Gilgamesh what it means to be a human which helps Gilgamesh realize that he is human and not just a god. Through Enkidu, Gilgamesh learns about loss, growing older, and mortality. This is similar to today’s society because losing someone does remind us of our mortality....
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