The Epic of Gilgamesh


The Importance Of Friendship In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, it depends on the lord of Uruk in early Mesopotamia which is Gilgamesh and what he experiences all through his adventure in the tablet. Gilgamesh is referred to his kin as the miscreant. He assaults the ladies of his city just as powers the youngsters to war. He is an extremely egotistical lord who just thinks about himself. Along these lines, Enkidu was made to get to his level and lower himself. In the lyric we notice critical change in Gilgamesh as far back as he experiences Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s fellowship are significant all through the entire sonnet since it formed who the characters were and who they would turn into.

As expressed, Enkidu the wild man was made to humble Gilgamesh by the Goddess Aruru. For what reason was he made you may ask, ”You made him… presently make his equivalent; let it be as like him as his own appearance, his subsequent self, stormy heart for stormy heart” With Enkidu’s motivation, there has been numerous contentions on how he might be Gilgamesh’s equivalent because of the way that he was made by water, mud and made a man of the wild. Gilgamesh was known to challenge the Gods because of the reality he 66% of a God. Making Enkidu helped lead Gilgamesh an alternate way which lead to his voyage. The contrasts between Gilgamesh would make the two bond at last.

What is companionship? Characterized from multiple points of view however the most widely recognized definition it is feelings or lead of companions; the condition of being companions. Be that as it may, to numerous it is far more than that. A few companionships travel every which way but then some are made to keep going forever. The two’s first experience was a battle and they began as adversaries. When they outperform the contempt towards each other it appears to a greater extent a more grounded relationship at last. Enkidu shows Gilgamesh that he thinks about him in one manner by doing whatever it takes not to battle the superb beast who was too hazardous beast in the Cedar Forest would be called. Humbaba. ‘Humbaba is the watchman of the backwoods of cedars’. The older folks needed to persuade Enkidu to support Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh shows his warmth when the Bull of Heaven descends and slaughters Enkidu, he grieves however one might say doesn’t generally lament since he is centered around his very own self kicking the bucket. This reminds us how narcissistic Gilgamesh is and isn’t the equivalent without Enkidu. ‘Enkidu will ensure his companion, monitor protect his friend’. Some individuals are placed into our lives for the better just as to shape us into a constructive individual whether the moves that were made were negative or positive. Like the well-known saying would state, ‘You live, and you learn.’

There has likewise been numerous doubts of Gilgamesh and Enkidu were in a sentimental relationship because of how one acted toward another and with individuals. Before Gilgamesh had met Enkidu, he adored him;’ During the hour of the sonnet rarely to have sexual relations with a similar sex. From returning to Gilgamesh grieving to him beforehand dismissing a lady’s advances included to the doubts. Ishtar which was the lady who made the lewd gestures would be a test for Gilgamesh to see where his sentiments were all through the lyric. In any case, we additionally need to recollect in the start of the ballad Gilgamesh utilizes his capacity for shrewdness and assaults the ladies of Uruk. This makes us question whether the doubts were right, their kinship was not what it appeared, or the two sides of the contention were right. Such a significant number of inquiries however the one genuine answer we know is that the two had affections for each other.

This takes us back to the possibility of Gilgamesh’s kinship with Enkidu making a bond with untamed life, people and God across the board. They make the three exist together and bode well all through the lyric and it improves their fellowship with each other and makes a relationship through fraternity also. Probably the greatest flash of their relationship was when Ninsun, the wild cow and who is additionally Gilgamesh’s mom receives Enkidu as her own. A parent kid relationship is a higher priority than any fellowship. Your folks perceive individuals before you do. ‘I herewith take Enkidu, as my received child, may Gilgamesh treat him well.’ The minute Enkidu was embraced caused it to appear as though this was simply one more route for him to have the option to associate and bond with Gilgamesh. Practically like another motivation to keep them together. At the point when you have somebody, who was made for you to be capable for you to succeed it should make life somewhat simpler.

The goals of kinship have changed such a great amount since the beginning we can characterize it from various perspectives. Gilgamesh and Enkidu give us a point of view on how we improved just as the qualities that some are missing at this point. Dedication, love and trust are a couple of the things you see all through the sonnet. Without Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the ballad would be totally extraordinary and most like would have finished contrastingly in light of the fact that they make the story. Their companionship is one of the primary topics. This fellowship is a prime case of somebody being lost without the other. We as a whole have in any event one companion that makes us a superior individual. Enkidu was that individual for Gilgamesh. There is a noteworthy change in Gilgamesh from in the being an egotistical lord who does anything he desires to a minding sibling/companion who at long last thinks about somebody other than himself. If not for Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s voyage would have been way more awful, and he would have kept on tormenting the individuals who are under him just as trying crafted by God. This companionship formed a lot more to come consistently and in different tablets also.

Read more


The Flawed Nature of Humanity in “Gilgamesh”

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Are humans inherently flawed? Is there something fundamentally imperfect with human nature? These questions have been asked by philosophers from as early as 2000 BCE when the first book ever was written, Gilgamesh, was transcribed.

Gilgamesh is an epic poem written by the Sumerians and eventually translated into other languages in the 1900s. The epic tells the story of Gilgamesh, a man who is ⅔ god and ⅓ human. He rules as the King of Uruk, and the hero of the epic. The poem delves into the transformative journeys he experiences, through love, death, and grief. Gilgamesh, as a character, while powerful and strong, struggles with some of history’s greatest tragic human flaws; he is arrogant, selfish, and greedy. This type of character holds a mirror to the imperfections of humanity. According to Gilgamesh, the human condition is defined by our flaws. This poem conveys the flawed nature of humanity through Gilgamesh’s excessive pride, taking his friend for granted, and his desire for immortality.

Pride in Gilgamesh is displayed as a fatal flaw and one that causes Gilgamesh to make harmful decisions which leads to his downfall. The concept of excessive hubris can be identified, when Gilgamesh believes he can kill Humbaba, a powerful protector of the gods, without any repercussions. Gilgamesh is a godlike man who is never fazed by death. His unwavering pride is apparent when he sets out to kill Humbaba, a clearly formidable foe, described as the “Evil one”, a dangerous giant and nature divinity, who is known to kill all who enter his forest. This attack is completely unprovoked, as Gilgamesh decides to do this simply because he can. Though many know of the peril Humbaba will bring upon Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh declares, “I will fight Humbaba, / I will cut down his cedars…. I am impatient and cannot wait long”. Gilgamesh says this in defiance of those who tell him he will fail, which highlights his casual mindset surrounding danger. He even goes against the warnings of his friend, Enkidu, who once lived in the forest and is intimately familiar with Humbaba’s danger. Gilgamesh’s childlike desire to prove his power and assert dominance over the gods blinds him from the truth of the dangerous situation he is creating for not only himself but also Enkidu. As Gilgamesh and Enkidu attack Humbaba, Enkidu gets a bad injury which eventually leads to his death. Gilgamesh deciding to attack Humbaba, and the ultimate consequences, analogizes a fundamental flaw that resides in humanity: dangerous and exorbitant pride.

Another flaw humanity exhibits is a tendency to take others for granted. It is the mistake of many to not appreciate our loved ones while they are among us. This concept is presented in Gilgamesh as Gilgamesh’s best friend, Enkidu, dies from an injury caused by a powerful giant. His passing leaves Gilgamesh to spiral into grief and sadness. The narrator expresses how Gilgamesh feels as they write, “Hovering about one’s lips/ Or arguing back to haunt/ The memory with what one failed to say,/ Until one learns acceptance of the silence…” (Mason 54). This quote highlights the feelings Gilgamesh experiences during his time of grief for his friend. The narrator demonstrates the human feeling of universal regret in facing the loss of a loved one. Regret is equated to the things Gilgamesh will never get to tell Enkidu while he was alive, and the appreciation he has for Enkidu that will never be expressed. This under-appreciation of loved ones is highlighted through Gilgamesh’s experience of grief and regret.

Gilgamesh’s desire for immortality highlights the third flaw of Gilgamesh; greed. After the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s feelings of remorse and grief overwhelm him to the extent that he believes he can successfully pursue immortality for himself and Enkidu. The consequential impact of greed on Gilgamesh can be seen through the decision to embark on a long an arduous journey to find everlasting life. He displays his blind yearning to achieve immortality as he proclaims, “Which is the way to Utnapishtim? I must know!/ Is this the sea? the mountains? I will go there!”. Utnapishtim is a god who knows the secret to everlasting life. Gilgamesh’s desire for immortality is so immensely powerful that it restricts him from thinking clearly. He abandons his kingdom and attempts to pursue Utnapishtim, while leaving his home and family behind. Gilgamesh’s search for immortality was futile, illustrating that greed doesn’t always lead to the desired outcome.

In the end, Gilgamesh eventually learns to accept the death of his best friend and is able to move on from his terrible grief. Gilgamesh ultimately realizes his faults and learns from them, by returning to his kingdom. The epic poem of Gilgamesh uses the flaws of Gilgamesh to identify the human condition. The arrogance, greed, and self-centered traits of Gilgamesh highlight some of the main flaws of humanity. Yet, is humanity doomed for good? Are humans destined to be flawed? Or can humanity recognize its flaws, like Gilgamesh, and better ourselves? 

Read more


ignorance results to immaturity in adults.

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The most dreaded lesson in the eyes of a child is the concept of “no.” While most children eventually realize that not everything in the world is available for their taking, the select few who neglect to recognize their limitations inevitably grow up to be self-indulgent, immature adults and burdens to those around them. In the case of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the spoiled child is the King of Uruk, Gilgamesh, and it is his subjects who must bear the burden and suffer painfully under their king’s tyranny. While Gilgamesh is a glorified and accomplished figure in Uruk, his achievements are undeserved, and his defining feature is not his physical might but instead his egregious ignorance. This is perhaps most evident in the king’s perilous quest to defeat Humbaba. Contrary to the text’s implication, Gilgamesh’s invasion of the Forest of Cedar is not a powerful display of ambition or a right of passage that illustrates his maturation; despite the king’s apparent reformation, Gilgamesh remains an arrogant and entitled leader whose successes are merely a result of his privileged birth and upbringing replete with praise and devoid of constraints.

The Epic of Gilgamesh portrays the king as a mighty and heroic leader, and while it acknowledges Gilgamesh’s faults, the epic often overlooks his abusive tendencies and emphasizes his unmatched rigor and spirit. The high regard in which the text holds Gilgamesh is evident in the lofty descriptions of the king as “Surpassing all other kings, heroic in stature, / brave scion of Uruk, wild bull on the rampage” (1.29-30). These grand depictions effectively imply that Gilgamesh’s deplorable actions are merely symptomatic of his greatness; as an authoritative man, the king wrongfully exploits his high status to excuse his many transgressions. However, from the perspective of the people of Uruk whom Gilgamesh “harries without warrant,” the king’s exceptional capabilities are trivial in comparison to his cruel authority (I.67). They do not view their king’s abhorrent treatment of his people as a mere byproduct of his extraordinary strength but instead as a sign of Gilgamesh’s immaturity and unrestrained upbringing. As a result of his unmatched physical prowess, the king grows up receiving only praise and submission to his superhuman potential, never realizing his own limitations. Gilgamesh’s incessant need to satisfy his urges to the detriment of his subjects stems from this lawless childhood, as nobody ever deprives the king of what he wants; consequently, Gilgamesh develops a severe sense of entitlement and fails to grasp how to behave appropriately as a an important leader. Much like a child, all Gilgamesh knows in life is instant gratification.

While the actual text of The Epic of Gilgamesh emphasizes Gilgamesh’s feats and ambition, in reality, his achievements are more of a reflection of his birthright than his actual perseverance. Unlike the common people of Uruk, Gilgamesh was born under a unique lineage, with “two-thirds of him god and one-third human” (I.48). In this sense, Gilgamesh quite literally is not a “man of the people.” It is not initiative and dedication that bring him success but rather his genetics that provide him with a significant upper hand in life. Given the unparalleled and godly capabilities with which he is endowed at birth, Gilgamesh’s extensive accomplishments are essentially meritless, as the king attains his high status solely through his arbitrarily privileged circumstances, which allow him to conquer lands more effectively than any human ever could. In its generous depictions of Gilgamesh, the epic overlooks an important qualification of true heroism—being born does not make a man deserving of greatness; it only gives him the chance to be. In addition to bringing him undeserved power, Gilgamesh’s unique lineage also breeds an unjustified sense of arrogance and superiority over his human subjects, which further contributes to his tyranny. While the text may imply that Gilgamesh is a mighty and ambitious ruler, the reality of the situation is that his many conquests are merely a result of a lucky birth and significantly contribute to his conceit. In essence, Gilgamesh’s greatest triumph is simply being born.

In conjunction with the elevated language that the text adopts to excuse Gilgamesh’s atrocious behavior, the introduction of his companion Enkidu produces a convenient plot point in which readers can settle their qualms with the king, as Enkidu appears to parallel Gilgamesh’s strength and reforms his barbarous tendencies. Contrary to this interpretation, Gilgamesh actually remains a relatively static character and his new partner actually has an opposite effect to its original purpose. While the wild and innocent Enkidu undoubtedly serves as an effective foil to the civilized and tyrannical Gilgamesh, his morality fails to change the king’s disregard for others because he does not possess the power to significantly influence Gilgamesh’s decisions or character. This is most evident in their wrestling match in which Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu who then submits, stating “High over warriors you are exalted, / to be king of the people Enlil made it your destiny!” (P.239-240). Although Enkidu is portrayed as a character equal in physical capacity to Gilgamesh, his loss in the wrestling match confirms his inferiority and essentially negates this claim. With another victory, Gilgamesh only fortifies his sense of superiority and greatness, failing to meet anyone who can overcome his physical mastery. The shear fact that Enkidu emerges from the fight secondary to Gilgamesh invalidates any possibility of reform or maturation. A such an impervious king, Gilgamesh does not yield to the admonitions of his inferiors; only a greater force can effect such a change. Consequently, at his core, Gilgamesh remains a spoiled child who merely channels his entitlement toward different goals in response to Enkidu’s introduction.

The seemingly positive influence that Enkidu has on Gilgamesh is perhaps most evident in the two companions’ journey into the Forest of Cedar. Gilgamesh’s invasion of the forbidden forest, at first glance, appears to be a manifestation of his unrelenting ambition and a symbol of his internal transformation from a ruthless king to a great leader as reflected when he announces “Bold as I am I shall tread the distant path [to the home of Humbaba,] / I shall face a battle I know not” (II.262-263). While Gilgamesh’s dauntless decision to invade the Forest of Cedar appears to be an effect of his new relationship with Enkidu, his true intentions are not nearly as honorable as they are immature. Gilgamesh’s daring pursuit of the cedar trees is not a manifestation of his spirited ambition but instead a symptom of his spoiled upbringing and subsequent psychological underdevelopment. With a bolstered superiority complex from defeating the mighty Enkidu, the king further develops a heightened mentality of imperviousness and stubbornness against those who deny or challenge him. Consequently, when Enkidu and his own personal advisors caution the king, stating “That is a journey which must not be made, that is a man [who must not be] looked on” (II.274-275), Gilgamesh interprets the warning as a challenge not motivated by ambition or glory but simply by the fact that his advisors oppose the decision. Much like a child who does not comprehend any perspectives other than his own, Gilgamesh wants to invade the forbidden forest simply because it is “forbidden.”

The Epic of Gilgamesh does not recount the story of a tyrannical but accomplished conqueror; in reality, it is merely the story of a child who by circumstance alone finds himself sitting on a king’s throne. By viewing the plot through a different lens, specifically in the eyes of those who suffer painfully under Gilgamesh’s reign, it is clear that the interpretation the epic invites its readers to make is not an accurate illustration of the king’s true character. Gilgamesh’s juvenile belief that he can and should fulfill all internal urges is a blatant expression of his psychological immaturity that should not be ignored in the context of the epic as a whole. Whether it is battling Humbaba, killing the Bull of Heaven, or seeking immortality, Gilgamesh’s pursuits are not a consequence of his ambition, honor, or glory but instead by something entirely different—an unearned exemption of the rules that govern a mature and adult society.

Read more


Cause of stance loss in battles of Gilgamesh.

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Mesopotamian epic, Gilgamesh, translated by David Ferry tells the tale of loss that has been so prominent to even stand around until this day and time. This concept of loss has especially been nurtured in the Mesopotamian time period because of the almost regular wars and battles that fought over power. In the end they all grieved and cheered over the lives that were lost. Loss is mainly scripted as death experienced by many throughout the story. It has depicted itself as a series of events that have impacted the characters with twists and turns in the narrative. Nevertheless, lessons are taught and learned in the relationships between different characters.

The Epic has the first revelation of loss through the deaths of evils that were defeated by Gilgamesh. These mortalities of the evils caused no grief at all but instead intensified mane of the king and changed what was to come later on. “Then the two of them together seized the demon and by the tongue pulled all his insides out…Gilgamesh the king came back to the city after the victory over the demon Huwawa…” (Ferry 29). The data implies that though the loss of Huwawa has affected the future of Gilgamesh by securing fame and honor in the name of his family and himself. “…and they killed the Bull…Then Ishtar was enraged… and spoke her curse ‘Woe be to Gilgamesh for insult to Ishtar… and killed the Bull of Heaven…’ “ (Ferry 34). From that it can be ensued the death of the Bull had been celebrated but been the loss for the goddess Ishtar, who had sent the Bull. Either way, fairly interpreted, loss has managed to manipulate events that played a great role in the thickening of the relationships between characters. In this case the two characters being Gilgamesh and Ishtar. Granted there were many other minuscule details that support loss as a major factor in transforming the path that this Epic took, but mainly these examples hosted the magnified perspective.

This path required sacrifices in order for its continuation. Yet not only did the mortals take the consequences and victories of facing off death. But in fact even the immortals shed tears on the toll loss had brought into their lives. “…whom how the sea engulfs and overwhelms, my children of fish’. The Annunaki sat and wept with her, the cowering gods wept, covering their mouths…” (Ferry 71). As clearly asserted the execution of the mortal was mourned by all the gods who took no part in arranging the flood, that had caused those numerous mortalities. Thus, loss has empowered itself a strong stance even in the hearts of the strong immortal gods. “Nothing at all… and all the human beings had turned to slay. I fell to my knees and wept…” (Ferry 71). The tears that were wept by the once-mortal Utnapishtim, solidified that they had not been shed in cause of a victory over a life that was terminated. But instead enhanced the intervention loss had played itself into once again. Simultaneously the theme pent-up the impact of its effect heavily on the main hero also, which no doubt clarified and refined the diegesis.

The most obvious portrayal of loss in this novel was- of course- when Gilgamesh lost his beloved companion, Enkidu. They grew and nurtured the hatred of each other into an inseparable love of two companions. “Gilgamesh, weeping, mourned for Enkidu… ‘Enkidu has died. Must I die too? Must Gilgamesh be like that?’” (Ferry 44). The segmented emotion of Gilgamesh losing his trusted companion to death is depicted to correlate with the theme effectively. Seemingly to also validate the influential mantle loss takes for itself when it comes to decide the forthcoming of what is to happen through the epic’s excursion. “Gilgamesh touched the heart of the companion. There was nothing at all…He hovered like an eagle over the body, or as a lioness does over her brood…” (Ferry 45). The casualty left Gilgamesh in grief, enhancing the development of the story as the journey continues.

The ancient Mesopotamian novel, Gilgamesh, contains an idealistic amalgamation of themes and concepts. But loss has played itself into so many roles and lived through so many centuries, that it has naturally given itself a strong stance in the novel.These events, that have impacted the characters through twist and turns, became a pillar to the stance loss. Moreover making the notion of loss more authoritative in the fate of the novel. Also a potential to change outcomes and yet still put together a tale that teaches a lesson or two- if analyzed right. Perfectly arranged to fit into modern language and understanding by David Ferry.

Works Cited

Ferry, David. Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1992. Print.

Read more


Gilgamesh Obligation,failures and Success as a Great Leader

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The epic poem of Gilgamesh is recognized as one of the earliest works in literature, originating back to the existence of ancient Mesopotamia. Since then, numerous versions of the story have been published, including one by David Ferry, called Gilgamesh. Regardless of the version, they all contain the same plot. In the epic poem, Gilgamesh is a tyrannical king in Uruk, Mesopotamia and the people of the city cry out to the gods to bring them peace from his ruling. Throughout his reign, Gilgamesh has been sexually exploiting women and taking the lives of men at his will. As a result, the gods create a man named Enkidu and assign him as Gilgamesh’s companion, in an effort to make him a better king. Gilgamesh does have an understanding of his obligations as a king, but he both fails and succeeds in satisfying them.

One of Gilgamesh’s obligations is to protect his people. As a king, Gilgamesh has absolute authority over his people, but he arbitrarily exercises his power. In one instance, Gilgamesh attends a wedding and “Before the husband, Gilgamesh will lie/ in pleasure with the bride in the marital chamber” (2.2.14). In other words, Gilgamesh thinks he has the right to sleep with whomever he wants and disregards the consent of women. This careless action instills fear among the people of Uruk and as a result, the old men resent Gilgamesh and beg the gods to alleviate some of their burden. Gilgamesh is supposed to be the “protector of the people,” but “Neither the father’s son/ nor the wife of the noble; neither the mother’s daughter/ nor the warrior’s bride was safe” (1.2.4). Gilgamesh’s people no longer trust him and not only do they need protection from others outside of Uruk, but also within the city from their uncontrollable king. The gods respond by creating a soulmate, Enkidu, who will protect Uruk’s virgin brides and men from Gilgamesh.

Although the people of Uruk failed to receive protection from within their city, they were protected from external forces because of Gilgamesh. For instance, Gilgamesh built an “outer wall [that]/ shines in the sun like brightest copper; the inner wall/ is beyond the imaginings of kings” (1.1.3). Gilgamesh had many achievements as a king, such as irrigating the fields, digging wells and planting orchards, but his greatest achievement was the construction of the city walls (1.1.3-4). This was because Mesopotamia’s geography consisted of flat, barren plains that made its cities easy to attack. Hence, Gilgamesh built the walls to defend his people from potential enemies. Furthermore, the city of Uruk had a strong army that was able to defeat its enemies in battles. This was due to the fact that Gilgamesh was “the vanguard and rear guard of the army/ Shadow of Darkness over the enemy field/ the Web, the Flood that rises to wash away/ the walls of alien cities” (1.1.4). These descriptions of Gilgamesh suggest that he devoted all of his strength in the battles against Uruk’s enemies and was even capable of facing them alone. Because of his strength, Gilgamesh succeeded in protecting these “alien cities” from entering his own and attacking his people.

Another obligation of Gilgamesh is to be unselfish. Gilgamesh finds himself deeply mourning over the loss of his companion, Enkidu, and he becomes fearful of his own death. He leaves his people and embarks on a dangerous journey in the wilderness to “find out how death could be avoided” (1.9.48). He threatens to abandon his duties as a king and “wander in unknown places, seeking” if he does not find Utnapishtim, the only man who was granted immortality by the gods (10.1.57). As a king, Gilgamesh has numerous responsibilities, including one to look after the the militaristic well-being of Uruk. The city has never been attacked under Gilgamesh’s dominion and with him wandering in the wilderness without knowing when he will return to his people, Uruk will be vulnerable to its enemies. Therefore, Gilgamesh is selfish for placing his own needs before his people’s.

However, Gilgamesh, later, demonstrates a different motive for his dangerous journey into the wilderness. After he has reached Utnapishtim’s territory, Utnapishtim informs Gilgamesh of a plant that will restore the youth of a man. He tells Urshanabi, Utnapishtim’s wife, that he “will carry the thorny plant back to [his] city/ [He] will give some of the plant to the elders there/ to share among them…And [he] will take [his] share of the magic plant” (11.7.80). Gilgamesh’s intention suggests that he is thinking about the well-being of his people, especially when he wants the elders to eat the plant before him, so they can be rejuvenated. This act of unselfishness could also be an act of compensation to the elders for Gilgamesh’s exploitation of the virgin brides and men.

The main responsibility of a king is to administer the well-being of a kingdom; thus, a king must fulfill numerous obligations, such as to protect his kingdom, in order to carry out this responsibility. Gilgamesh’s role as a king can be seen as one of both failure and success. For instance, he abuses his absolute authority by exploiting virgin brides and men, but on the other hand, he is efficacious in ensuring that potential enemies do not attack his people. Although initially, Gilgamesh as as ruler was not always displayed in a good light, he ultimately became a better leader for his people.

Read more


Morals created from relationship in Gilgamesh narratives.

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

As human beings, we are inclined to crave human interaction and acceptance. These two concepts eventually lead to friendship—a token cherished by all of us, including the main characters of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Throughout the epic, the theme of friendship is portrayed between these two characters through many different instances: traveling together, helping one another change positively, as well as empathizing with and grieving for one another. Though the relationship of Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu is unique, it is also an instructive example of the true meaning of friendship.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the relationship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu starts out rocky. Gilgamesh, the leader of Uruk, was feared by his own people. One of his many less-than-admirable acts is what eventually led him into meeting the man who would take the place as his best friend and brother. This initial encounter, though, is not how most would assume a friendship to arise. Gilgamesh decided that he would engage in affairs with a man’s new wife before he does. When Enkidu hears about these plans, he becomes angry and takes it upon himself to go to Uruk and block off the bed of the wife, prohibiting Gilgamesh from being within her reach. The two begin to brawl, eventually dragging one another to the floor, where they completely forget about their disagreements. They embrace, and from then on, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become the best of mates.

Instances such as the eventual personality changes of the two characters show the balancing dynamic of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s relationship. Although these men grow as characters together, Enkidu may be considered the more responsible of the two, as he has helped Gilgamesh become a more compassionate, understanding and fearless leader and man in general, while Gilgamesh molded Enkidu into a noble man like himself. The concept that opposites attract is highly visible in the friendship of these two, as their opposing yet complementary personalities tend to balance one another like yin and yang. “No, Enkidu cried; it is the journey that will take away our life. Don’t be afraid said Gilgamesh. We are together.”—their friendship grew so strong that they were eventually stronger together than apart. Such strength in harmony is exhibited through their ability to conquer the invincible monster Humbaba, who is the guard of the Cedar Forest, a place that is taboo to mortals. Gilgamesh and Enkidu travel together for many days, coming across obstacles that they help one another to overcome. Together, the two were able to slay Humbaba and bring his head back to Uruk as a trophy to flaunt to all the city. The push and pull of their opposing personalities is truly what allows them to possess a friendship of such strength.

One of the most notable parts of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s friendship is the effect that Enkidu’s death has on Gilgamesh. The goddess of love, Ishtar, falls in love with Gilgamesh but is rejected. This repudiation angers Ishtar; as a result, she calls upon the Bull of Heaven. The bull eventually curses Gilgamesh. He and Enkidu decide to kill together once more, this time directing their prowess towards the bull. This killing further enrages the gods and they conclude that punishment is deserved, leading to the slow, painful death of Enkidu. Gilgamesh watches his best friend and brother die, a process which is the spark to his downfall: a common characteristic of every epic hero. Enkidu’s death has a dramatic effect on Gilgamesh, since he has conceptually lost a part of himself because of how close their relationship was. This loss and pain are accurately depicted through the quote, “A constant flood of tears did wash the face of Gilgamesh. His soul could find no place to rest, since painful grief did prick his heart.” The absence of Enkidu, the more rational half of Gilgamesh, causes Gilgamesh to go about on the illogical journey to achieve immortality. The loss of Enkidu also triggers Gilgamesh to expose a character trait that was never before shown—fear. Death becomes surprisingly possible now to Gilgamesh; knowing that he will one day die gives him great discomfort, and he will do anything to avoid a possible demise. In turn, this shift reveals a moral that is evident in friendships today. Although Gilgamesh grieves for his friend, he still eventually begins to think of himself. Humans are inevitably selfish, and powerful people like Gilgamesh are no exception.

Gilgamesh would not have searched low and high to find the answers to immortality if he had not experienced the loss of his best friend. These searches become a vital part of who Gilgamesh is as a character by the end of the story, proving that his friendship with Enkidu truly was life-changing. Without the companionship of Enkidu, Gilgamesh would have never evolved as the person he is by the end of the narrative. Likewise, Enkidu would have never gained the new knowledge and strength that he had by the end of his life, had he never decided one day that he would challenge Gilgamesh. Although presented within an ancient tale, the relationship of these two holds strong morals that can be applied to modern society today, and still resembles many twenty-first century friendships.

Read more


The life after death differs in the bible and ancient epic of Gilgamesh.

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Questions like these that baffle the human mind, and have done so for centuries: what happens after we die? Is there truly life after death? Such riddles can never be known to those who have not crossed over “to the other side”, so to speak, and the only ones that do know the answer can never reveal it. As the saying goes, dead men tell no tales. It is a question central to the identity of every civilization, dating back before the common era. In the ancient epic of Gilgamesh, the afterlife is nothing but darkness and dust. In the Bhagavad-Gita, there is only a cycle of reincarnation that may or may not lead to “enlightenment”. And in the book of Job, there is a belief that God-fearing, righteous people may one day enter paradise.

Gilgamesh was a man scared to death of dying. He felt like this since his beloved friend Enkidu had a vision of the underworld on his deathbed. Enkidu describes it as “the house whence none who enters come forth” (Tablet XII, line 134) and “the road from which there is no way back” (line 135). Both of the descriptions haunt Gilgamesh severely. Furthermore, Enkidu sees “crowns in a heap” (line 142), the crowns of past kings. Not even a royal bloodline can save Gilgamesh from the one certainty in life. Gilgamesh is deeply distressed, and cries out, “Shall I not die too? Am I not like Enkidu?” (Tablet 8, line 3). He begins a frantic search to find a source of immortality, to stay the hand that all man are dealt. He fails…but, in a ironic sense, he also succeeds. No, he does not live on forever, but in a way he does. He lives on through his his accomplishments, such as his wall that be built and his story, which has been passed down through the ages. In the culture of his day, that is the closest anyone could come to being immortal.

Arjuna was a confused man . His everyday quest to fulfill the wishes of the gods and achieve enlightenment was under attack by his morality and opposition to war. He speaks to Krishna and cries out, “I foresee no good resulting from slaughtering my kin in war!” (Chapter 1, stanza 31). He, like many of his day presumably, has no desire to engage in war and conquest because he sees no benefit from killing his kinsmen and countrymen. He dreads the bad karma that is associated with such acts. But Krishna tries to relax him, saying that “Death is assured to all those born, and birth assured to all the dead; you should not mourn what is merely inevitable consequence” (Chapter 2, stanza 27). In essence, death and birth and just two sides of a never ending cycle. Krishna also says to Arjuna “Nor should you tremble to perceive your duty as a warrior” (Chapter 2, stanza 31). It is Arjuna’s “sacred duty” to be a warrior and to kill his enemies, family or not. In effect, life is just one constant reincarnation after another, with “enlightenment” being the only true afterlife. Krishna goes on to say that “When, unvexed by revelation, your higher mind is motionless and stands fixed in meditation, then you will attain discipline” (Chapter 2, stanza 53). In other words, enlightenment is only attainable by those who have learned to act without any feelings. This is the duty of all.

Job was a submissive man, and a righteous one. The writer of Job said that he “was blameless and upright and feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). He was the best example of a “man of God” of his day. Even when God allowed Satan to come and destroy Job’s family, possessions, and health, he did not sin. After his wife told to him to curse God and just die, he replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). His whole world revolved around honoring God, whether with having plenty or nothing. Job acted the way he did because of his respect for God and his vision of the afterlife, or heaven. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). Whats the point of holding on to the things in this life if, in the end, we have to give them up anyway? Only one thing is eternal: God. Job is remembered to this day for realizing that possessions mean nothing without the One who gives them to you. This is the ideal Jewish and Christian way of thinking about life after death.

The three cultures discussed above have three very different views of the afterlife. One was trying to immortalize oneself in actions and monuments, one was about reaching action without feeling and enlightenment, and one was about giving up the things of this world to focus on the God from whom all things come. Maybe we, as humans, can never truly understand the concept of life after death. But, then again, maybe we should be more focused on the things we do in life instead.

Read more


Mother, Goddess, Seductress, Harlot: Women in “The Epic of Gilgamesh”

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the female characters hold small roles, but they are in no way secondary to the male characters, as their roles are pivotal to the story. Through their roles as mothers, harlots, and goddesses, they manipulate the story according to their actions. The female characters in the tale are also shown to have great influence over the male characters, and appear to be capable of changing their decisions and even bringing about their deaths. Therefore, the centrality of their roles stems largely from their abilities to alter the roles of males.

It is tempting to argue that the roles of females in The Epic of Gilgamesh are secondary and serve simply to pave the way for male characters, such as Gilgamesh and Enkidu, to fulfill their more important roles. Rivkah Harris supports this view by saying that “Women are regarded positively only when they assist Gilgamesh (and Enkidu) in their activities, when they nurture, advise in maternal fashion”[1]. Indeed, the most obvious support for this argument is the role of the harlot, Priestess Shamhat. Her primary role is the taming of Enkidu, tempting him away from his feral ways using her sexuality and her maternal instincts, and bringing him into the civilized world to teach him the ways of men. The trapper’s father tells his son that “She will be there, stripped naked; and when he sees her beckoning he will embrace her, and then the wild beasts will reject him”[2]. In this way, Shamhat’s sexuality is used as a tool by a man, in order to tame a man, suggesting that her role is that of a stage prop rather than being a character in her own right. Adrien Janis Bledstein argues that “In relation to Enkidu, a harlot enacts several roles: she is a seductress, wise counselor, mother, and servant. Having fulfilled these male wish-fulfillment functions, the woman disappears”[3]. Indeed, as she leads Enkidu towards a civilized lifestyle, she provides a service in allowing his character to progress and his role to unfold, as this leads him to go looking for Gilgamesh and ultimately to befriend him. Once her service has been fulfilled, her role comes to a close, reflective in a way of her profession as a prostitute in which she fulfills men’s sexual desires without any further attachments. It can therefore be argued that her sexuality and other feminine virtues are used simply to serve males, and to pave the way to Enkidu’s future greatness, arguably making her a secondary character whose role is merely a supporting one.

Harris also argues that “women play subsidiary and supportive parts. All except the Goddess Ishtar assist Gilgamesh in his search for immortality”[4]. In fitting with this view, it could also be argued that Utanapishtim’s wife is another example of a female role serving simply as a means of paving the way of a male character’s role. Her actions lead her husband to reveal to Gilgamesh the location of a plant which restores youth, as she asks him “Gilgamesh came here wearied out, he is worn out; what will you give him to carry him back to his own country?” (116). Here, a male character’s role is once again supported by a female character’s role as she helps Gilgamesh gain valuable information about the whereabouts of the youth restoring plant so he can progress with his quest for immortality. The fact that her name is never revealed, and that she is instead referred to as an extension of her husband, once again marginalizes her as a secondary character. It can also be seen to reflect her role which, it could be argued, is merely supplementary to that of her husband. John R. Maier adheres to this view as he states that “wives in the poem are, significantly, anonymous, identified only through their husbands”[5]. It could also be argued that Utanapishtim uses his wife as a tool for teaching Gilgamesh a lesson, as he orders her to “bake loaves of bread, each day one loaf, and put it beside his head; and make a mark on the wall to number the days he has slept” (114) in order to prove to Gilgamesh that he failed his task to stay awake for a week. Here, she fulfills a secondary role by assisting her husband, rather than taking on a central role.

However, I am inclined to argue that, while the female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh do play small roles, they are in no way secondary characters. Their roles do appear to be based around supporting the male characters, but this makes them central characters in their own right. Shamhat’s role of taming Enkidu and in turn setting him on his path to befriending Gilgamesh is just as important as the roles of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, if not more so, as without her the majority of the events in the tale could not have taken place. Furthermore, her ability to transform Enkidu from feral to civilized highlights the power of female sexuality as the epic tells how “For six days and seven nights they lay together, for Enkidu had forgotten his home in the hills…the thoughts of man were in his heart” (65). The verb “forgotten” (65) shows the extent of the impact that the character of Shamhat has on the character of Enkidu, taking him away from his old life and introducing him to a new one. The trapper’s father also tells the trapper to “let her woman’s power overpower this man” (63), further emphasizing the power that women hold over men. Shamhat plays a dual role as both a seductress, and as a mother figure, as she teaches Enkidu the ways of civilized men. This presence of two roles within one woman tells us something about attitudes towards women in Mesopotamian society. It suggests that there was no definitive role for women, but rather a diversity of roles. It is reflective of a society which worshiped Goddesses as well as Gods, and was rife with prostitution as well as women devoted to marriage and being mothers[6]. Shamhat tells him “Endiku, eat bread, it is the staff of life; drink the wine, it is the custom of the land” (67). This scene is reminiscent of a mother teaching a child table etiquette. Stephen Mitchell argues that the achievement of Shamhat in taming Enkidu surpasses the achievements of any of the male characters in the tale[7]. Indeed, rather than looking at her as a paving stone for Enkidu’s journey, she can instead be seen as the origin and creator of his new life, and therefore a central and almost goddess like character. She is at the centre of a chain of events which make up The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Her mothering role also represents the Mesopotamian view of women as bearers of children and bringers of life. The reliance of Enkidu on Shamhat in order to fulfil his role is reminiscent of a child being dependent on its mother. The great masculine characters like Enkidu and Gilgamesh could not achieve greatness without a female influence or mothering figure being there to nurture and guide them. The mothering figure behind Gilgamesh is Ninsun, and unlike Shamhat to Enkidu, she is his biological mother. She has an important impact on Gilgamesh’s role as she interprets his dreams to mean that he will make a friend, telling him that “he will come in his strength like one of the host of heaven. He is the brave companion who rescues his friend in necessity”. This interpretation of Gilgamesh’s dream is shown to be true as Enkidu seeks out Gilgamesh. Ninsun’s words are also a driving force behind the initiation of the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu as Gilgamesh says in response that “[he] shall befriend and counsel him”. By foreshadowing their friendship, she helps to make sure that it becomes a reality.

Furthermore, the role of Utanapishtim’s wife can be seen to be more central than the role of her husband, as it is ultimately her who makes up his mind to help Gilgamesh. Her display of empathy towards Gilgamesh is a very feminine display of virtue which in turn allows Gilgamesh to not only find the plant, but to learn a valuable lesson and come to terms with his own mortality after it is stolen from him by a snake. She is another example of females having great influence over males, as her good nature appears to rub off on her cold-hearted husband. Ultimately, her decision is the final one, not her husbands. He even repeats almost her exact words to Gilgamesh saying “what shall I give you to carry back to your own country?” (116). This emphasizes the way in which she is able to bend the will of her husband simply through speaking a few words. The control she exorcises over her husband is subtle, as it appears on the surface that her husband is in control as he orders her to bake bread and she does so. However, she uses her empathetic and mild nature to make a plea to her husband to take pity on Gilgamesh, which he adheres to almost immediately. The way in which she apprehends her husband for mocking the sleeping Gilgamesh is reminiscent of a mother teaching a child moral rights and wrongs, as she tells her husband to “touch the man to wake him, so that he may return to his own land in peace”. In spite of insisting on letting him sleep for seven days, Utanapishtim ultimately adheres to his wife’s request, once more emphasizing her influence over him, and presenting her an embodiment of her husband’s conscience. She has a major impact on the story through her display of kindness towards Gilgamesh, and her influence over her husband.

Another way in which female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh play central roles is through their wisdom and knowledge. Joseph Campbell makes a point about females in ancient mythology, saying “Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known. The hero is the one who comes to know”[8]. In other words, the female inherently knows what the male hero can only find out through quests and trials. The main example of such a character would be the tavern keeper Siduri. She plays an important role in the tale as she foreshadows Gilgamesh’s failure in his search for immortality. She tells him that “(he) will never find that life for which (he) is looking, when the God’s created man they allotted him to death”. She also tells him that temporary mortal existence “is the lot of man”. Her words carry the clear message that human beings could never, and should never, hope to attain eternal life. All men are set to perish eventually, and death is as natural as breathing. Similarly to female characters such as Shamhat and Ishtar who drive Gilgamesh’s (and Enkidu’s) journeys, Siduri makes a sound and wise prediction of how Gilgamesh’s path will unfold. This further emphasizes the idea that women in The Epic of Gilgamesh play an almost puppeteer like role, with the male characters simply walking the paths set out for them by females. Gilgamesh chooses to ignore Siduri’s advice, leading him into misfortune, suffering, and ultimately into failure. This shows his judgement to be secondary to that of Siduri’s. Like the character of Utanapishtim’s wife, Siduri also assists Gilgamesh by telling him where to find Utanapishtim, which helps him to progress with his quest. This is another example of women making it possible for men to achieve their goals. They are not secondary or subsidiary characters, they are instead the driving force behind the actions of males.

The character of Ishtar is an example of a powerful female character, who imposes her influence over male characters. Unlike the other female characters, she sets out to destroy the two male leads rather than to support them or assist them. Her actions lead directly to the death of Enkidu, showing her domination over a primary character, and rebuffing the possibility of her categorization as a secondary character. In addition, Gilgamesh’s refusal of Ishtar’s proposal is based on his fear of meeting the same fate as her past lovers. He asks her “which of your lovers did you ever love forever?” (86), which suggests that she is a woman of fickle nature, falling in and out of love with men very easily. He also compares her to “a battering ram turned back from the enemy”, a metaphor made in reference to her penchant for punishing her lovers when she gets bored of them. This emphasizes the way in which she uses her power to dominate men, and ultimately destroy them, showing her to be a powerful female character. She does not support males, but rather causes them to fall. Her role in the tale is crucial, as she uses this power to bring about Enkidu’s death, bringing an end to his partnership with Gilgamesh, and leading the latter to going searching for the key to immortality. In contrast to Shamhat, who serves as a giver of humanity and of new life to Enkidu, Ishtar is the ultimate destroyer of Enkidu. Enkidu’s role is undoubtedly a major one, but two females with such strong roles to play in his very existence can surely be deemed as central characters in their own right.

Unlike the other female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh who become central characters through their female sexuality and mothering ways, Ishtar switches up the gender roles by taking on the more male virtue of destruction. Rivkah Harris argues that “the goddess acts like a man, proposing marriage to the hero, a proposal he rejects. She then responds in a masculine fashion, seeking revenge”[9]. Indeed, she says “come to me Gilgamesh, and be my bridegroom” (85), a request traditionally made by the male. This undermines the earlier view that women in the tale are merely supporting or subsidiary characters, as Ishtar makes the request of marriage based on her own desires rather than the desires of any man. Ishtar shows that women can be centrally aggressive characters just as much as males can, if not more so, as she succeeds in punishing Gilgamesh through the murder of his best friend. Ishtar is perhaps the most central of all the female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh, as she plays the role of the antagonist. Without her destructive actions, Gilgamesh and Enkidu would not be faced with a true trial. She ignites a fierce battle between Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven, as she sends the bull down “to destroy Gilgamesh” (87) Ishtar’s role is crucial in the tale, as she marks the downfall of the partnership between Enkidu and Gilgamesh.

In addition to their powerful influence over males, the roles of the female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh are also central to the development of the plot line. As Karen Nemet-Nejat argues, “The female characters in Gilgamesh do not have major roles. Rather, they are important in that they move the story forward”[10]. Indeed, without the actions perpetrated by female characters, the story would never have unfolded. For example, without Shamhat, there would be no civilized Enkidu but rather just the original, feral creature we see at the start. Meanwhile, Ishtar engineers Enkidu’s death, an extremely important event in the plot which leads Gilgamesh to seek eternal life after becoming highly aware of his own mortality. The women in the tale are the creators of the plot, and the males act in response to the actions of these women. Whilst the male characters appear on the surface to be at the center of the story, that story is supported by the presence of females. Without the female characters, the story would collapse.

In conclusion, the female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh have small roles, but also central roles. Characters such as Shamhat and Ishtar act as driving forces to both the plot line and the roles of the male lead characters, and the extent of the repercussions of their actions make up for their lack of actual time appearing in the tale. Women in the tale appear to have great influence over men, using their sexuality to tempt them control them, while they also use their mothering instincts to teach and advise them. Through sexual temptation and mothering the female characters manage to refashion the activities and decisions of the male characters, making them central to the tale. Ishtar, meanwhile, becomes the central antagonist of the tale, and plays the role of a destroyer of males. The tale depicts males being built up and destroyed, and women can be seen at the center of both processes.


BLEDSTEIN, Adrien Janis (1993) Feminist Companion to Judges, Sheffield, Continuum

CAMPBELL, Joseph (2008) The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Novato, New World Library

HARRIS, Rivkah (2003) Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia: The Gilgamesh Epic and other Ancient Literature, Norman, University of Oklahoma Press

MAIER, John R. (1997) Gilgamesh: A Reader, Wauconda, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers MITCHELL, Stephen (2006) Gilgamesh: A New English Version, London, Atria Books

NEMET-NEJAT, Karen (2014) Women in the Ancient Near East: A Sourcebook, New York, Routledge

NEMET-NEJAT, Karen (1999) Women’s roles in Ancient Civilizations: A Reference Guide, Westport, Greenwood Press

The Epic of Gilgamesh (1973), London, Penguin UK

[1]Rivkah Harris, Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia: The Gilgamesh Epic and other Ancient Literature (Norman; University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), 120 [2]The Epic of Gilgamesh (London; Penguin UK, 1973), 64. Subsequent references in parentheses are to this edition. [3]Adrien Janis Bledstein, Feminist Companion to Judges (Sheffield; Continuum, 1993), 40 [4]Rivkah Harris, Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia: The Gilgamesh Epic and other Ancient Literature (Norman; University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), Preface xi [5]John R. Maier , Gilgamesh: A Reader (Wauconda; Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1997), 179 [6] Karen Nemet-Nejat, Women’s roles in Ancient Civilizations: A Reference Guide (Westport; Greenwood Press, 1999) ,102 [7]Stephen Mitchell, Gilgamesh: A New English Version (London; Atria Books, 2006), 40 [8] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Novato; New World Library, 2008), 97 [9]Rivkah Harris, Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia: The Gilgamesh Epic and other Ancient Literature (Norman; University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), Preface xi [10]Karen Nemet-Nejat, Women in the Ancient Near East: A Sourcebook, (New York; Routledge, 2014), 177.

Read more


Gilgamesh: Significance of the Literature of That Period of Time Research Paper

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Gilgamesh is considered to be one of the oldest pieces of art in the literary world. The story of Gilgamesh is a wonderful opportunity to go back for more than five thousands years ago and learn past cultures, interests, demands, and beliefs.

This story may serve as one of the most powerful examples of how recorded human thoughts influenced the current state of affairs and how the secret of immortality became the cherished dreams for human beings. The vast majority of people are still eager to participate in the hunt for immortality, this is why this source becomes more valuable where the results of such hunts are perfectly described.

The significance of Gilgamesh is evident indeed due to the variety of factors: this work is still regarded as one of the earliest literary works that are known to the reader, this is a captivating source about the events of the Great Flood and human beliefs, and finally, this story shows the reader the way of how life, death, and people’s realization have to be united.

General facts about Gilgamesh story. Gilgamesh was a famous king of Uruk in the middle of 2700 B.C. He made a wonderful attempt to build a wall in order to protect his people against the enemies, envy, and other sources of evil. The actions of this kind attracted the attention of many readers. The oldest civilization tried to take leading positions and prove their rights to existence.

The Great Flood, the ideas of immortality, the grounds of friendship, and eternal memory – all these are the crucial points in the story. Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu united their powers and skills in order to participate in numerous adventures and achieve success; however, everything that Gilgamesh was able to achieve was memories and recognition but never immortality.

Gilgamesh as an epic poem and the oldest literary work. To comprehend why the poem about Gilgamesh is still of such great importance, it is necessary to clear up what makes it epic, what characteristics of an epic poem are inherent to the story first of all, and what the impact of this story is for the rest literary works. An epic poem is a kind of a work that is written in elevated language and devoted to the actions of one traditional hero.

The characteristics of any epic poem that have to be mentioned are the following: a clearly defined story; a hero that is supported by people; hero’s searching for love, a friend, a relative, immortality, or treasure; gods, who are able to influence the development of the events and human lives; and, finally, a historical message that helps the reader to grasp his/her own place in this world and his/her possible heritage.

Gilgamesh is one of the examples that have all the above-mentioned characteristics. Some people may argue that the text of Gilgamesh is usually presented in prose; however, we should admit that this story is too old, and the original text that was written in the form of epic poem is hard to find.

“The history of the epic itself begins sometime before 1600 B.C., eight centuries before Homer, when a Babylonian author… assembled free translations of the oral versions of some of these tales into a connected narrative” (Lawall 10-11). So, Gilgamesh has to be defined as a brilliant example of true epic story with all the necessary points. The literature of that period of time and before Gilgamesh was hardly recognizable because it was difficult to save other author’s attempts to present a worthwhile piece of work and depict the epic characteristics.

Gilgamesh and its connection to the Bible and the Greatest Flood. One of the most noticeable features of Gilgamesh is its close connection to the Bible and the events during the Great Flood. The Biblical times teach the reader to trust the power of God and respect God’s decisions even if other people cannot comprehend this choice. “With the first light of dawn a black cloud came from the horizon; it thundered within where Adad, lord of the storm, was riding” (Cunningham and Reich 30). When gods comprehended that people became too numerous, too selfish, and too noisy, they made an attempt to show people their own weaknesses.

By means of the Great Flood, all humankind would be destroyed including plants, animals, and land. Those, who wanted to prove their rights to live and conquer the world, had to survive and accept god’s rules in order to become immortal. This part of the story about Gilgamesh plays a very important role for the literature of that period of time and even for literature of current times. The historical message of this story is significant indeed: every human being has unbelievable opportunities and skills, but the point is to use these skills properly and not to break down the grounds, created by superpower.

Relations between gods and mortals or between civilization and nature have to be respected. If a person forgets this simple truth, the possibility to lose everything raises considerably. This is why in order not to lose life, faith, and dignity, it is better to remember about and respect these boundaries.

Gilgamesh with its concepts of life and death. Very often, people can hardly appreciate the possibility to live, breathe, and communicate. In order to achieve success and power, many people are able to forget about the concepts of friendship and self-respect. The story of Gilgamesh shows the reader how friendship and attitude to life may change people and their attitude to each other.

Friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu may serve as a powerful example of how cruel reality and indifference to nature may weaken a person and how human mutual support may save. The story under discussion takes a significant place in the world literature because it proves that people are still able to save each other and keep in mind the idea of self-respect.

However, if it happens that you lose everything, it does not mean that nothing is left behind. Human actions, words, thoughts, and help to other people will be able to make your immortal. And everything is not about life and death only but about the ways of human personal realization and achievements of purposes.

The story of Gilgamesh discloses the essence of immortality in one of the most captivating and clearer way. The fear of death, the desire to find immortality, and the attempts to save lives – all this makes a person closer to death itself. Maybe, it is useless to think about what may happen when the time to die comes, but it is urgent to think about the ways of how people live and use their skills.

Gilgamesh is a significant literary work that demonstrated a brilliant start of how epic poem should look like and what information such works have to present. Further works by Homer were considerably influenced by the story of Gilgamesh, and even the representatives of modern literature admit the importance of Gilgamesh context and absurdity of immortality for mortal people.

Works Cited

Cunningham, Lawrence, S. and Reich, John, J. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2005.

Lawall, Susan. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vol. A: Beginnings to A.D. 100. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002.

Read more


“The Epic of Gilgamesh” a Story by Maureen Kovacs Term Paper

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Heroism is a characteristic that entails a demonstration of unique traits by an individual, beyond ordinary expectations. The story of Gilgamesh and his achievements in the Epic of Gilgamesh portrays him as a true hero of the people.

From the story, Gilgamesh, the protagonist, demonstrates many character traits that pass him for a hero. Gilgamesh demonstrates high skillfulness in his work. Besides, he is intelligent and possesses great courage.

The fact that Gilgamesh is ready to die for the sake of his people, also shows that he is selfless, a character of a true hero. From the story therefore, it is in order to argue that Gilgamesh’s search for immortality is suitably heroic as developed in this paper.

To begin with, it is quite evident that throughout the story, Gilgamesh demonstrates his character as a leader with high skilfulness. According to Kovacs Gilgamesh “is strong to perfection…an awesome beast with unmatched strength and a chant that fosters armies…leads his tribe into battle fearlessly and defeats everyone…” (8).

Gilgamesh, as a skilful warrior, leads fellow warriors of his tribe to fight their enemies and in no occasion do they lose a battle. His strength is unrivalled; he has been able to slay even the most feared men like the highly feared Humbaba. In fact, his successful demonstration that he could fight Humbaba makes people of Urok village to fear him for such act is a great achievement.

The task he accomplishes by slaying Humbaba has made the Great Gilgamosh to cower since his strength is incomparable to someone who was once their king. The revelation that the people of his tribe are angered by even small things just but demonstrates their confidence in Gilgamesh; they are confident that even if they go to fight with any tribe, their king will not let them down.

Gilgamesh is a man of great intelligence; throughout his reign as a king, he demonstrates great intelligence through the way he governs his people.

He naturally possesses hindsight of what is likely to happen to his people and prepares in advance to overcome it. Besides, Gilgamesh has the ability to make wise decisions on urgent matters concerning his people (Heather Para. 9). This ability has earned his tribe a good name; a powerful tribe.

By accepting to challenge Humbaba, Gilgamesh knows he could convince his people that he is strong and powerful and could actually slay the beast. It takes intelligence for an individual to look up and heed the counsel of the wise and for Gilgamesh he heeded his mother’s words of wisdom; Gilgamesh’s mother convinces him that Enkidu is a true friend not an enemy in disguise.

The epic portrays Gilgamesh as a selfless man. Being selfless is one of the characters that people do admire in a hero. Selflessness as a character trait that “requires an individual to put his/her personal needs aside to care for other people’s needs even if it requires a sacrifice that would not benefit him/her” (Prine 23).

By agreeing to fight Humbaba, Gilgamesh verily knows that it is possible that he may die during the fight; nevertheless, his selfless character compels him to take the risk and the fact that he is ready to die for his people’s safety passes him for a true hero. Only few people can give their lives for the sake of others and this move by Gilgamesh qualifies him as a true hero.

His selfless nature also comes out when he fights the sky sent-bull (earthquake). When an earthquake hits his tribe, nine dozen people die but Gilgamesh does not flee to save his life; he simply stays put because he knows his people need him at a time like this. The earthquake incident further reveals his selfless nature as a true hero.

Finally, Gilgamesh demonstrates high degree of courage that portrays him as a hero. His acceptance to fight Humbaba, a great fighter, shows great courage because he does not fear death, which is a possible outcome from this fight. His courageous nature comes out when he manages to climb up the steep cliff on Mt. Mashu.

He does not cower midway but goes up until he reaches the top of the cliff. At the top, Gilgamesh meets the scorpion guard who reveals to him that in the past, no one had ever climbed to the top of that cliff. This revelation by the scorpion guard further brings out the courageous nature of Gilgamesh; he manages to do what no other man has done before and that’s what true heroes do; they go where no ordinary man has ever gone.

From the epic, it is evident that Gilgamesh’s search for immortality is suitably heroic because his character throughout the story demonstrates that he is indeed a hero. Many at times he has done things that underscore his courageous nature. As a leader, Gilgamesh shows great intelligence. In the battle field, Gilgamesh is a skilful warrior. Finally he is a selfless man ready to die for his people’s safety.

Works Cited

Heather, Leah. True Love Conquers All – Love and Heroes in the Epic of Gilgamesh, 2006. Web.

Kovacs, Maureen. Trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh. California: Stanford University Press, 1989. Print.

Prine, Jackson. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1997.

Read more