Epiphany of a character from assigned readings Essay
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Sumerian poem that dates back to the ancient time. The main character is Gilgamesh; the ruler of Uruk. His body has both godly and human features. Gilgamesh is a rapist, cruel, domineering and oppressive ruler. However, the intervention of gods leads to the creation of a man who is similar to Gilgamesh. Unfortunately, Enkidu becomes Gilgamesh best friend but due to the wrath of gods, he dies. However, before his death Enkidu foresees the suffering he and Gilgamesh are to undergo while in the underworld.
Sharon posits, “Epiphany is a divinity or deity manifestation moment that one experiences in his/her lifetime leading to a change in character and social interaction” (163). The impact of epiphany is positive and the people who undergo the experience reform from worse to better beings. In the light of this insight, the occurrence and manifestation of death becomes an epiphany moment in Gilgamesh and a turning point in his life.
Gilgamesh epiphany experience and its effect on the society
Gilgamesh is an oppressive ruler but after experiencing an epiphany moment in his life, he becomes a respectful and loving rule. Enkidu is Gilgamesh’s closest friend and just before his death, “he has a revelation on the punishment he and Gilgamesh are to undergo after their death (Foster 10).
After realizing the pain that awaits him in the next world, Gilgamesh not only mourns his friend’s death but also his seemingly bleak destiny. Therefore, he forgets his kingdom and embarks on a journey to establish the origin of death and its implication on humankind. He seeks divine intervention to rescue him from death. Unfortunately, one of the god’s reveals to him that death is the destiny of all human beings as per gods’ wish.
However, the god gives Gilgamesh two options; he either turns into an immortal being or retain his youthfulness forever. The god gives him a specific plant with the ability to restore juvenility once again but a snake steals the plant while on his way to Uruk and Gilgamesh realizes that he will surely die. Upon this painful realization, Gilgamesh concludes that humankind will exist forever but human beings must die.
Gilgamesh realization that he has a few days to live compels him to change his character to a fair ruler. He ends the oppressive regime and asserts to respect all his subjects irrespective of their position in his kingdom. Therefore, the epiphany moment in king’s life leads to the freedom of his subjects who start living peacefully.
The divine revelation to Gilgamesh about his death and punishment propels to change his character and ruling style also. Gilgamesh revelation and experience is an epiphany moment because of its divinity and influence on his character and the society.
After interacting with gods, Gilgamesh realizes that death is inevitable and his death will bring great suffering. He becomes so fearful that he decides to stop harassing and oppressing his subjects. Therefore, he changes his character becoming a good and caring ruler. Additionally, he confirms he is equal to his subjects because all of them will die.
Foster, Benjamin .The Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2001
Sharon, Kim. “Edith Wharton and Epiphany.” Journal of Modern Literature 29.3 (2006): 150-175.
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