English 2, Block 6
September 9, 2014
Gilgamesh’s Life Lesson
Having immortality could change someone’s life forever. In the excerpt from Gilgamesh by Stephen Mitchell, a young man learns a lesson searching for eternal life. The theme about life in Gilgamesh’s story is that there is no everlasting life despite how hard one tries to achieve it. This is expressed through Gilgamesh’s conversations and experiences and by the snake taking his key to immortality.
While going on his journey searching for indestructibility, Gilgamesh learns essential lessons with the helps of others. When he meets Shiduri, and explains to her why he is looking for eternal life she says, “Humans are born, they live, then they die, this is the order that the gods have decreed. But until the end comes, enjoy your life, spend it in happiness, and not despair. Savor your food, make each of your days a delight, bathe and anoint yourself, wear bright clothes that are sparkling clean, let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand, and give your wife pleasure in your embrace. That is the best way for a man to live.” (Mitchell 456) Shiduri explains that Humans live and then die, that is how the gods want it. But while one is still living, appreciate life, be joyful and not hopeless. Enjoy what one eats, make every day memorable, clean oneself, wear vivid clothes, savor music and dance, adore ones’ children and ones’ wife. This is the best way to live life. This is the first time someone tells Gilgamesh that immortality is not the key to a happy life; it is to enjoy every second of it. Gilgamesh is stubborn and is still determined to find the way to live forever. Throughout the story, Gilgamesh receives this same message through different people and experiences. For instance, he wants to know what Utnapishtim did to achieve immortality; however, Utnapishtim explains that “no one has seen death’s face or heard death’s voice,...
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