The Three Themes
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest recorded epics ever discovered. It is written about Gilgamesh the ancient king of Uruk, located in modern day Warka, Iraq. His reign is believed to have occurred sometime between 2700 and 2500 B.C.E. It’s modern importance lies with the information it reveals about Sumerian society and culture; the most important themes in the story are the importance of love, the inevitability of death and the power of the gods. Gilgamesh himself is stated to have engraved the story into stone (Gilgamesh, 1), it was then written down by an unknown scribe, and then translated by various other scribes throughout history. The written text appears to have been recorded after Gilgamesh’s death because he is referred to in the past tense (Gilgamesh, 1). The intended audience is for all people of different socio-economic backgrounds in Sumerian society because the intention of this story is to teach people important life lessons. The lessons revealed in The Epic of Gilgamesh are the purpose of the story. The adventures that Gilgamesh embarks on in the physical world are merely metaphorical representations of his mental, emotional and internal progress as a human being. This is not written to simply glorify King Gilgamesh’s life, it’s just a story written to entertain the audience while teaching implicit life lessons about becoming an adult and the power of the Gods. Everybody who reads this story, or hears it is supposed to realize that Gilgamesh is actually you … the one who read it, and his journey is a representation of adversity that we must all overcome in life. The intended Audience is everybody, that is why it is written in poetry. Most people of the ancient Sumerian culture were illiterate so songs became the common medium of passing on stories. Rhymes written in prose were easier to remember than basic history, so The Epic of Gilgamesh was written as a poem (Gilgamesh,1) designed to...
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