Nancy C. Bjorklund
30 August 2010
The search for the meaning of life is a question that has pervaded mankind's curiosity for as long as we have known our time in this world is limited. There are as many stories attempting to answer this question as there are cultures and civilizations to tell them. One such story is the Epic of Gilgamesh. This ancient Mesopotamian epic is not only the first epic poem, but is one of the first stories attempting to answer the very question of what it means to live. The story tells of the trails and exploits of a Sumerian king named Gilgamesh. His search for eternal life takes him across the land overcoming trials and accomplishing heroic tasks as the gods seek to thwart his efforts. The people he encounters on his quest all provide valuable insight into the answers he (and we) seek. This story shows the importance of life is an answer that has been sought long before any modern culture, philosophy, or religious doctrine has attempted to solve the very same mystery.
Gilgamesh was the king of Urok, an ancient Sumerian city, who left his home to search for eternal life. Along with his companion and friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh sought to rise to godhood by breaking the bonds of mortality and becoming an immortal. Through his his close friendship, adventuring companionship, and eventual loss of Enkidu, the would-be-god is left with an even stronger resolve to fulfill his ambitions of attaining eternal life. His life, adventures, and wishes of greatness are something which not only the ancient Mesopotamian civilization could admire, but even our modern multicultural world could glean many facets of insight into the largely unanswered questions that lie within each and every one of us.
Gilgamesh begins his journey for the same reasons many might seek out the gift of immortality, to have more power, to be praised for his deeds and greatness, and to finally be free of the fear of the unknown....
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