In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh embarks upon a quest seeking immortality as a means to peace, meaning, and joy in life. He tries to reach it in many different ways, each as unsuccessful as its predecessor. The two main types of immortality are physical and through the actions or achievements of ones life. Gilgamesh tries first through his actions, but then undergoes a transformation which leads him to next attempt physical immortality. He eventually comes back to the point at which he began; however, now he realizes that the beginning point was always the object of his quest. Uruk, his city, is his legacy and the key to his quest. This lesson underscores his humanity, for often we cannot truly learn a lesson until we have first erred in the wrong direction.
In the first half of the epic, Gilgamesh struggles with his quest. In tablet I the reader does not know what Gilgamesh"'"s purpose is, but they are lead to understand his search is external. The reader learns of Enkidu"'"s creation, but does not know yet his real purpose. The first time the reader learns that Gilgamesh seeks his immortality externally, is when he tells his mother of his dream, '"'A star fell from the heavens, a meteorite, and lay on the empty plain outside Uruk.'"' This dream is about Enkidu"'"s creation. The implication of this quote is subtle, but visible; it occurs when he says that the meteorite is on the plain, '"'outside Uruk.'"' Thus his '"'outside'"' or external quest commences. Tablets II and III reveal Enkidu"'"s purpose. The reader now knows that Enkidu is on Gilgamesh"'"s side. They also know what Gilgamesh wants, immortality. Enkidu"'"s purpose is to help Gilgamesh reach this immortality through his achievements, his fame. The reader is made aware of Gilgamesh searching for immortality when he and Enkidu plan to kill the guardian Huwawa, and cut down the largest cedar tree in the cedar forest. This may simply sound a heroic task, but Gilgamesh shows that it"'"s how he...
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