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The Desire for Everlasting Life and Gilgamesh Essay

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The desire for everlasting life or immortality has been the first and the oldest quest of mankind. At the beginning of time, man was designed to live forever. When God created Adam, he created him to dwell on the earth and to fill it with his offspring’s. At no time was he told that this was a temporary arrangement. He was to live forever unless he ate from one certain tree. If he ate from that tree, then he would die. We are then left with several questions, if he had not eaten from that tree, would he still be alive? If he was meant to live forever, was that desire instilled in him? And as his descendants, was the desire to live forever instilled in each of us as well?

That desire is in all mankind. From the beginning of time, man has searched for the holy grail of immortality. People have looked for magical potions and searched for countless ways and spent fortunes in order to find the miracle that was to extend their lives, to turn back the clock, to keep them youthful. In this aspect, our hero, Gilgamesh, is no different. Gilgamesh’s life is somewhat similar to that of the Bible’s first man, Adam. He was designed perfectly “towering Gilgamesh is uncanningly perfect.” (pg. 4) He enjoyed paradistic conditions. He enjoys his life, his might and power, and perhaps believes that he will live forever, that he will be youthful forever. He has much to live for, is too vigorous to be truly mortal. He is after all 2/3 part divine and only 1/3 part human. Why would he not want to live forever? Was Gilgamesh, like Adam, at first given the right and desire to live forever and later lost it by an act of disobedience? Gilgamesh, like countless others, begins a quest for immortal life. He wants to make sure that he can li...


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...as trying to make him realize that not only are we accountable for our actions, we need to realize that as humans our time is limited and we need to appreciate the things that we have rather than longing for things we may never have. Gilgamesh came to this realization when at the end he looks at the things he has, the city of Uruk and says: “Pace out the walls of Uruk…did not seven masters lay its foundations? One square mile of city, one square mile of gardens, one square mile for clay pits, a half square mile of Ishtar’s dwelling, three and a half square miles is the measure of Uruk!” (pg. 95)

So in the end, Gilgamesh comes to accept his fate. He begins to appreciate what he has, rulership over a beautiful city. He stops worrying about what the future may hold. In the end, none of us can know what the future holds, but we can appreciate and live for the day.



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