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Lessons Learned From the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

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The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian epic poem with no known author, is the story of the brute King of Uruk, Gilgamesh, who was two-thirds divine and one-third human, which teaches readers the unstoppable force of death, the wrath of the gods, and also the power of friendship, which are illustrated to readers through the characters journeys, and those encountered along the way. The poem, which is divided into twelve tablets, starts off with Gilgamesh being a vicious tyrant, one who “would leave no son to his father… no girl to her mother”(Gilgamesh 101), and as for newly married couples “was to join with the girl that night”(Gilgamesh 109) transitions to by the end of the story an entirely new man.

One of the main reoccurring themes in The Epic of Gilgamesh is the wrath of the gods. King Gilgamesh had qualities that one would need to excel as a ruler, both brain and brawns, yet he chose to rule with selfishly, and caused this people of his kingdom to live in fear. As one might expect, the gods were not pleased with the way the king was treating everyone. So, Anu, the father of all the gods, showing his wrath, enlisted Aruru, a goddess of creation who created Gilgamesh himself, to create an equal to Gilgamesh, and that being was named Enkidu. Originally, Enkidu was made so he could defeat Gilgamesh and put him in his place, but once they realized they were equal in strength, they became friends. Once companions, the two go on a journey to the Cedar Forest and slay the demon guardian Humbaba. At first, Anu was pleased that Gilgamesh was occupied and not tormenting the people of Uruk. Ishtar, a resident of Uruk, is the goddess of love and fertility, and has a bit of a crush on Gilgamesh, and makes promises to “ready fo...


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...and the power of friendship are all themes that are very present in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which are shown in the story through the journeys that Gilgamesh embark on, and characters he meets along the way. At the time of it’s writing, I am sure that The Epic of Gilgamesh served as lesson to readers to obey gods, to love one another, and to not let the fear of death keep you from living. These days, it is seen more as just an old epic that is actually very entertaining, but that doesn’t mean that we still can’t take a good message out of it.



Works Cited

Abusch, Tzvi. "The Development and Meaning of The Epic of Gilgamesh." Journal of the American Oriental Society 121.4 (2001): 614-23. Ebscohost.com. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Unknown Author. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2012. 95-151. Print.



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