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The Legend of Gilgamesh Essay

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The legend of Gilgamesh is believed to be the first story ever written by man. Before Gilgamesh was written it was passed from mouth to mouth by the ancient civilization of the Sumerians. The Sumerians existed over three thousand years before the birth of Christ. They recorded the story of Gilgamesh in cuneiform script. Later the Sumerian story was passed on to the Babylonians, Akkadians, Asyrians, Hitties, and Persians whom had also learned to write in their own languages. The Sumerians and their language disappeared, but their story of Gilgamesh has continued.
With the rediscovery of the ancient cities and the objects contained within we found clay tablets with curios markings. Slowly theses markings were recognized as writing and the script, in its various languages, was laboriously deciphered. In these tablets we find the epic of Gilgamesh. Although scholars have disagreed about the meanings in the story and there have been as many versions of it as there have been translators it still has remained a historic myth.
     The story begins a description of the world in which Gilgamesh lived. There were the several gods in Gilgamesh’s world. The city of Gilgamesh was one in which the walls tower so high that they protect the city from invaders, floods, wild beasts, and even unfriendly gods. Even with all this protection the people of Uruk were not happy they spent all their time building the walls higher and higher. The mothers were without their sons and the woman without their lovers. The elders of the city went to complain to the gods about Gilgamesh who has ordered them to keep building the massive walls. They were answered by Anu. Anu dismissed the elders. He respected Gilgamesh as a fearless ruler and thought that he knew best for his people. The goddess of love, Ishtar disagreed. She was angered to see her young girls without their lovers and her mothers without their sons. The elders suggested a plan for the gods to create a man equal Gilgamesh. Aruru, the goddess who created mankind, came down and shaped a piece of clay and placed it in the forest. This man was very similar to Gilgamesh but this was a wild beast of a man. He was Enkidu. Enkidu lived in the cedar forest outside of Uruk. He learned to feed from the gazelle and learned to fight by wrestling the lion.
     One day a young trapper enco...


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... the Waters-of-Death, and awaits the return of the ferry-man. Eventually Gilgamesh becomes impatient and begins destroying the stone things on the boat. The ferryman approaches and scolds Gilgamesh for destroying the boat of Utanapishtim. Gilgamesh profusely apologizes and asks to be taken across the river. Since the boat is so damaged Gilgamesh is asked to cut poles in order to push there way across the river. Once Gilgamesh arrives to the other side he encounters a man and tells him of how he came to be there. The man, Utanapishtim, tells him that only the gods can make him immortal. He goes on to tell him how he became immortal. Utanapishtim tries to test if Gilgamesh could become immortal but Gilgamesh could not pass the test of warding off sleep. So Utanapishtim sends him back home, but not without telling him of a magic plant of rejuvenation. Gilgamesh finds the plant but out of distrust takes the plant with him to test on an old man instead of eating it immediately. While returning home a snake snatched the plant away and slithered into a hole leaving only his old skin behind. Gilgamesh eventually returns home with nothing. The moral being that there are no second chances.


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