What does Gilgamesh search for in his life and why?
In what ways does the story in Gilgamesh parallel the story in the Old Testament in the Bible?
Gilgamesh searches for immortality in his life. He sees immortality as a meaning to peace, meaning and joy in his life. After the death of his friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh suffers a lot for 7 days and thinks the only way to get peace is the eternal life. Since he is man for one third and god for two thirds Gilgamesh wants the status of the gods to live forever. Of course, eternal life is reserved for the gods, and no matter what he tries to accomplish this status, he fails. At the end of his journey he finally understands that there is no eternal life for him or any other human being. He realizes though that mankind will live forever.
There are two major parallels in Gilgamesh and the Bible. The first one is a biblical critic to the Mesopotamian Noah. In both stories the gods punish mankind with a flood and warn one specific human. In Gilgamesh the gods specifically advise Untanpishtim how to survive the flood by building a ship and loading animals, one of each sex, on it. After the flood the boat comes to rest on a mountain top. At the end of each story, the gods in Gilgamesh and in the Bible respectively apologize for their actions. The other parallel of the story of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament is the role of the serpent. In Gilgamesh the serpent steals the plant that will restore his youth. Gilgamesh wanted to give the plant to the elders of Uruk, but after this happens all he brings back from his journey is himself. He now is not obsessed with eternal life anymore and focuses his attention on the betterment of his kingdom. In the Bible the serpent is evil and convinces Adam and Eve to eat something that belongs to god. As a consequence they have to leave the Garden of Eden and become sinners for all times.
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