Preview
Preview

Imagery and Themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1133 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Historical Context - Imagery and Themes


Rosenberg notes that Gilgamesh is probably the world's first human hero in literature (27). The Epic of Gilgamesh is based on the life of a probably real Sumerian king named Gilgamesh, who ruled about 2600 B.C.E. We learned of the Gilgamesh myth when several clay tablets written in cuneiform were discovered beginning in 1845 during the excavation of Nineveh (26). We get our most complete version of Gilgamesh from the hands of an Akkadian priest, Sin-liqui-unninni. It is unknown how much of the tale is the invention of Sin-liqui-unninni, and how much is the original tale. The flood story, which appears in the Sin-liqui-unninni version, is probably based on an actual flood that occurred in Mesopotamia around 2900 B.C.E. (26).

The Sumerian culture influenced the entire Near East (Swisher 13). The success of their culture was dependent on the agricultural viability of the area. Every year there were floods which provided rich silt for successful farming that encouraged the people to stay in the same area year after year instead of migrating to find new areas for crops (19).

There are indications that the Sumerians were composed of two different peoples which mingled in the same area. The Semites are believed to have mixed with the Highlanders. The Semites were patriarchal hunters and more warlike than the Highlanders. The Highlanders were matriarchal and peaceful. Swisher suggests that there is evidence of both social groups and that the combination of the two led to changes in the perception of the roles of the gods and goddess as well as the men and women (21).

Sumer was originally small groups of people that eventually grew to form cities. As a country it included 13 ...


... middle of paper ...


...der to receive eternal life. The apparent belief in an afterlife which is indicated by the burial with useful objects may show that eternal life is achieved after physical death. The Flood - recounted by Utanapishtim is representative of the purification of human life by the gods. Their transgressions are swept away (with most of the population) and they are reborn into a fresh, new world and relationship with the gods. Ark - the symbol of the gods' love of the humans and their interest in preserving the human race.

We also identified five themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh: Conflict between chaos and order, represented by nature and civilization; Man's quest for immortality and knowledge; Dealing with loss; Male bonding/brotherhood; Heroism (man's victory over nature).


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
A Summary of the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - The Epic of Gilgamesh: A Summary The Epic of Gilgamesh is a moving tale of the friendship between Gilgamesh, the demigod king of Uruk, and the wild man Enkidu. Accepting ones own mortality is the overarching theme of the epic as Gilgamesh and Enkidu find their highest purpose in the pursuit of eternal life. The epic begins with Gilgamesh terrorizing the people of Uruk. They call out to the sky god Anu for help. In response Anu tells the goddess of creation, Aruru, to make an equal for Gilgamesh....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 849 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Comparing The Epic of Gilgamesh with The Odyssey Essays - The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey both are held in high respect by literature analysts and historians alike for the characterization of the hero and his companion, the imagery brought to mind when one of them is read, and the impressive length in relation to the time period it was written in. The similarities that these two epics share do not end with only those three; in fact, the comparability of these works extend to even the information on the author and the archetypes used. However, The Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh contrast from one another in their writing styles, character details, and main ideas....   [tags: literary analysis, heros]
:: 3 Works Cited
1263 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - Perhaps one of the main reasons the Epic of Gilgamesh is so popular and has lasted such a long time, is because it offers insight into the human concerns of people four thousand years ago, many of which are still relevant today. Some of these human concerns found in the book that are still applicable today include: the fear and concerns people have in relation to death, overwhelming desires to be immortal, and the impact a friendship has on a person’s life. It does not take a great deal of insight into The Epic of Gilgamesh for a person to locate these themes in the story, and even less introspection to relate to them....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1053 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Epic of Gilgamesh Essays: Themes of Gilgamesh - Themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh   Many themes are incorporated into the story line of Gilgamesh. These include three very important concepts: death is inevitable, immortality is unachievable, and friendship is a necessity. One of the main themes in the epic is that death is inevitable, which is shown through Enkidu's death. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh becomes very worried, because he realizes for the first time that everyone is going to die at some point in time. The fact that Enkidu is a close friend makes it even more visible to Gilgamesh that everyone is mortal....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 451 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Search for Immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - The fear of death and the search for eternal life is a cultural universal. The ideology surrounding immortality transcends time and a plethora of cultures. The theme, immortality appears in stories from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was composed by ancient Sumerians roughly around 600 B.C., to present day works of fiction in the twenty first century. Gilgamesh, a figure of celestial stature, allows his mortal side to whittle away his power after the death of Enkidu. Undeniably, defenseless before the validity of his own end, he leaves Uruk and begins a quest for Utnapishtim; the mortal man who withstood the great deluge and was granted immortality by the gods (Freeman 36)....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Essays]
:: 9 Works Cited
1509 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Transformation of Gilgamesh Depicted in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - Gilgamesh struggled to establish moral principle. His personality at first was an arrogant, self-centered tyrant ; he was described by Enkidu "His teeth are dragon's fangs, his countenance is like a lion his charge is the rushing of the flood..." (pg. 16 line 3-6). But towards the end of this epic narrative Gilgamesh switched over to a more humble and sincere person. This adjustment in Gilgamesh's behavior shows his modesty and the morality throughout the story. At first, Gilgamesh was seen as an oppressor to his people....   [tags: The Epic of Gilgamesh] 437 words
(1.2 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh Abstract: The most interesting stories invariably are about love and death. These two themes underlie the Epic of Gilgamesh, a mythic tale of the quest for immortality. Gilgamesh, profoundly affected by the death of his friend Enkidu at the hands of the gods, questions the injustice of life. Finding no answer, he of course tries to change—indeed, eliminate—the question by seeking immortality. The following essay examines Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s relationship, and the effect of Enkidu’s death on Gilgamesh....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh]
:: 1 Works Cited
785 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Transformation of Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - The Transformation of Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh In many literary works we see significant transitions in the hero's character as the story is developed. This is also true in the Epic of Gilgamesh with its hero, Gilgamesh. In this narrative poem, we get glimpses of who Gilgamesh is and what his purposes and goals are. We see Gilgamesh act in many different ways -- as an overbearing ruler resented by his people, a courageous and strong fighter, a deflated, depressed man, and finally as a man who seems content with what he's accomplished....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1766 words
(5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Epic of Gilgamesh is Truely an Epic - The Epic of Gilgamesh is Truely an Epic An epic is an extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.   The main characteristics of an epic as a literary genre is that it is a long poem that tells a story, it contains an epic hero, its hero searches for immortality (but doesn't find it physically, only through fame), gods or other supernatural beings are interested and involved, and it delivers an historical message.  The Epic of Gilgamesh is classified as an epic because it fits all the characteristics of an epic as a literary genre....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 1699 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Death and Immortality in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - 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....   [tags: The Epic of Gilgamesh] 1379 words
(3.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]