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Death and Immortality in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

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Death and Immortality in The Epic of Gilgamesh

The search for immortality has been a major concern for many men and
women all throughout history. True love and immortality in life would
be a dream come true to many. To spend time with a special someone,
the person one feels closest to, and never have to say good-bye would
greatly appeal to most people. But when death steps into the picture,
even with all the pain and devastation, one starts to re-evaluate
themselves. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh explores the
possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend
and brother, Enkidu. Gilgamesh, feeling the fear of his own mortality,
sets out on a journey to search for a way to preserve himself.
Although the journey that he endures is much larger than life,
Gilgamesh comes to realize that he can never achieve immortality.
Before the creation of Enkidu, Gilgamesh is a man without an
equal match. He is an individual with overwhelming power, and it is
because of this that makes Gilgamesh a very arrogant person. This
arrogant side of him is accompanied by an extensive abuse of power,
which leads to injustice and rage in the city of Uruk: “The young men
of Uruk he harries without warrant”. This problem does not bother
Gilgamesh; he lives to display to others his royal power. The first
sign of change in Gilgamesh occurs after the birth of Enkidu.
Gilgamesh’s mother, Ninsun, said to him, “Like a wife you’ll love him,
caress and embrace him, he will be mighty, and often save you”.
Gilgamesh has finally found his match, a friend who will serve as his
life long companion. This new seal of friendship will cause a chang...


... middle of paper ...


...nsciousness after death, or maybe a combination of both, which
creates this fear. The fear felt is undoubtedly universal. However,
the ways in which it is dealt with are varied and diverse. The concept
of human mortality and how it is dealt with is dependent upon one’s
society or culture. It is the society, which has the greatest impact
on an individual’s beliefs. Hence, it is also possible for other
cultures to influence the people of a different culture on such
comprehensions.
The irony of the story is that Gilgamesh, who wanted to enjoy
immortality, actually achieves his dream. Thousands of years after his
death, he and Enkidu live through the story of their adventures, which
has been passed down through time. Gilgamesh and Enkidu will be kept
in an immortal state for however long The Epic of Gilgamesh is told.


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