Professor Kelly Wiechart
7 September 2013
Culture Theme of Gilgamesh and The Tempest Act I and Act II
The theme selected is power in culture in the post colonialism period; culture viewed through post colonialism ties into the social hierarchy and religion. In the post colonialism period there is a society that is suppressed by their leaders and that culture can be seen in both literary works The Tempest and Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. The culture and power theme that is apparent in both works of literature because it appears that there is a relationship with their culture and the power in the social hierarchy that creates leaders that seem to be ‘above’ their subordinates. There is a transition in both literary works show that there is a struggle with the civilized and uncivilized when their worlds clash; both Gilgamesh and King Alonso as they find themselves in a situation that is less than ideal. Power is a theme that is in both stories; the reader can see factual evidence that Gilgamesh, Prospero and Antonio use power to suppress their subordinates, or otherwise what they consider ‘uncivilized.’ The power is created in these stories by the a hierarchy in the culture that is not challenged by the uncivilized, or subordinates. There are challenges and tensions that come with power, such as the way that the people in both stories react to the kings and the ‘higher’ hierarchy. The Epic of Gilgamesh still shows a strong presence in the 21st century as a result of the connection to Gilgamesh’s story and struggles.
Power in culture is a theme in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which can be easily seen in the way, that the beginning of the story it is noticed that Gilgamesh has no limits to his ruthlessness of power. It is evidential in the way Gilgamesh works his people until they are almost dead working on his kingdom’s walls; he also took an advantage of the brides taking their virginity before their husbands and overall suppressed the people in his kingdom. This culture that was created because of his power made his people think this was the way of life and just hope that one day it would change. Gilgamesh had no regard for anyone but himself and preferred to live in solace. This is just one way that power and culture is a theme in Gilgamesh, but the power in Tempest demonstrated by Prospero and Antonio. The challenge of the power that Gilgamesh has suppresses the people in his kingdom, leaving them thriving for the days and a time period before Gilgamesh was king.
The power in both literary works comes from the people that allow these kings and men in high hierarchy to assert their power; it is systemic in the culture due to the existing hierarchy and those who follow will submit to their power in any situation. The power is also systemic to their ability to manipulate people to submit to their power. This hierarchy that is in the culture can be related to fear in people to not disobey the people ‘above’ them. The hierarchy power is apparent in both stories when the men on the boat show obedience to Sebastian and Antonio; the obedience to Gilgamesh from his kingdom is apparent in the hard work given into rebuilding the walls, and how hard they worked to please Gilgamesh (Mason). The theme of the culture of The Epic of Gilgamesh popularity can be attributed to the fact that in the 21st century there is still a struggle of leaders that seek self-actualization. Humans still have a social hierarchy in our culture that creates certain God-like leader complexes that still exist in modern culture, as it did in post colonialism culture. Gilgamesh displays a complete change of character from his God-like king mannerism, to becoming a more down to earth king that understands loss and who he really is as a person. This type of journey is something that modern 21st century readers can relate to because there are leaders who may make similar mistakes; this teaches them that a certain way of...
Cited: Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971. Print.
Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tempest. New York: Washington Square, 2004. Print.
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