A Hero-King’s Revelation
In the ancient but exhilarating world of the Epic of Gilgamesh, we find ourselves enveloped in the heart of Mesopotamian mythology and culture. This story tells of a special, god-like man, named Gilgamesh, who undergoes an extensive journey of complex and unique encounters. Through the many experiences he has endured throughout his quest, Gilgamesh transforms his whole outlook on life and immortality through the eyes of at least three key events: the death of Enkidu, the snake who ate the special plant, and falling into a deep sleep for seven days. These experiences would progressively contribute to the monumental transformation in Gilgamesh’s natural way of thinking. The first significant event that we peer deeply into is the tragic death if Gilgamesh’s best friend loyal companion, Enkidu. This “manimal” creature named Enkidu was uncivilized and a short-time foe of Gilgamesh, but they both ended up being the closest of friends when Gilgamesh exerts his superior fighting skills by pinning Enkidu down in a match. Through his great journey, Gilgamesh strives for immortality and to have his name live on forever, but most of his efforts fail miserably. One major occurrence of this is the passing away of his greatest ally: “He called for Gilgamesh, [roused him with his cry] my friend laid on me [the greatest] curse of all! When in battle […] I feared the battle [but will die in my bed], my friend, he who [falls quickly] in battle [is glorious]. I […] in battle. [Enkidu dies.] (In the Mesopotamian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, 59).” This curse Enkidu speaks of here is the illness he dies of because he and Gilgamesh slaughtered Ishtar’s bull. And this great loss of a special friend hurls Gilgamesh into a deep depression and immense grief. Gilgamesh has just realized and discovered how mortal he and the world around him are; that immortality might not be such a practical and normal reality after all. And furthermore that life and...
Cited: Foster, Benjamin. Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.
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