September 16, 2011
The Literary Experience ENG 103 UA
Argosy University Online
Module 2 Assignment 2
I would say that there are more than one levels or circles of hell that Dante would place Gilgamesh in as well as Enkidu. First, I think Dante would place Gilgamesh into the second circle of hell where those who lust for material things would be punished by being ceaselessly tossed about in the dark air by most furious winds, (Alighieri, 2006). I say he would be placed in this circle because he lusted for material things, as Argosy University Online, 2011 states, “he enslaved many of his subjects, took what he wanted from others and raped any woman” (p3). Gilgamesh also lusts for an afterlife.
Dante may place Gilgamesh in the third circle of hell as well, which is where those who were gluttonous were flooded with hail, snow and discolored water. He was gluttonous over women, and strength. Next, Dante may place both Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the fourth circle of hell, where those who are greedy or spend money carelessly are punished by throwing heavy weights and rocks back and forth to one another. I say both characters would go to this circle because as Argosy, (2011) tells us, “They try to steal trees forbidden to humans. The trees are guarded by a demon but the two friends manage to kill the guardian, chop down the trees and build a raft that will take them home” (p.3). So, the friends stole these trees together. Envy goes along with this in this circle and when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh starts dressing like him, as he sets out to find the boat that carried humanity through the flood.
Moving right along, I think Dante would place both characters into the seventh circle of hell, where those who have committed violence against themselves or others are emerged in a river of blood because together, they killed the guardian at the trees they stole, they defeat the bull that the goddess of love has her father send down from the heavens, and Gilgamesh rapes whatever women he wants and won when the two friends themselves struggled in the beginning of the story.
Lastly, I think Dante may place them both in the ninth circle of hell because this is where those who are traitors or have turned against family, friends, a special relationship (treachery) are punished by being frozen in ice and are to never be trusted again and are forever full of coldness and cruelty that they once cast upon others. This goes hand in hand with the seventh circle, violence. I chose this circle because Gilgamesh has turned against many throughout the story, the Gods, Goddesses, women in general, and Enkidu in my eyes turned slightly against the Gods who created him as his purpose for being created was to help control Gilgamesh’s wild ways and he ends up partnering up with him instead, kills with him, steals with him. So I think it would be safe then to say that Dante may place Enkidu in the sixth circle of hell as well, which is where hypocrites are to be in a flaming tomb without the ability to ever escape for not believing in God and the afterlife because its obvious these characters didn’t believe in these things or they wouldn’t have betrayed the Gods or stolen anything, or done the things they done or would have at least repented for their sins.
Society’s view on good and bad behavior changed between the epic of Gilgamesh and the inferno because as time passed on, sins were more seriously punishable, or people’s beliefs changed and certain things were punished harsher than others, and certain things were considered more of a sin over another. However, it seems as though almost anything someone did in the times of Dante, would be considered a sin and to think where any of us would fit in hell if it were still this way today, is a scary thought as I myself could fit into almost each circle if I stop and analyze my life up until now, I’m certain I could find at least one thing I have said or done in my existence thus far to place myself in each circle, give or take a few. During Dante’s time, people had become too materialistic and greedy and decided it was time to turn back to their faith, (Argosy, 2011, p2).
Alighieri, D. (2006). The divine comedy: The originals. Hayes Barton Press; Raleigh, N.C.Retrieved September 15, 2011 from http://myeclassonline Argosy University Online. (2011). Medieval Literature. Retrieved online September 16, 2011 from http://www.myeclassonline Argosy University Online. (2011). The epic of Gilgamesh. Retrieved September 16, 2011 from http://www.myeclassonline