Essay The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Ignorance of Gilgamesh

Essay The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Ignorance of Gilgamesh

Length: 1013 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s pursuit for immortality is marked by ignorance and selfish desire. Desire and ignorance, as The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha suggests, pollutes man’s judgment resulting in his inability to break the cycle of birth and death. At the core of Gilgamesh’s desire resides his inability to accept the inevitability of death, making his rationality behind the pursuit of immortality ignorant and selfish. Implicitly, Gilgamesh’s corrupt desire for immortality conveys that Gilgamesh does not mature as a character.
Enkido’s arrival in The Epic of Gilgamesh forces Gilgamesh to reconsider his immaturity. Gilgamesh is introduced as “tall, magnificent and terrible” and as one “who crossed the ocean” (George i.37-40). As a “wild bull on rampage”, Gilgamesh’s tyrannical kingship is not challenged until an observer notices Enkido, a beast that “fills in the pits that I myself dig” and “stops me doing the work of the wild” (George i.30, 130-133). Because Enkido, “sets free” all the “beasts of the field”, he is presented as a wild creature that can “fill the pit” Gilgamesh digs and stop him from being a “wild bull on rampage” (George i.130-133). Later, Enkido is referred to as “the child of nature, the savage man from the midst of the wild”, conveying that his ‘savage’ origins (nature) are essential to clear civilization’s harmful influence on Gilgamesh (George i.178-179). While Enkido represents nature’s weapon to combat civilization’s mishaps, Enkido also portrays that even his pure soul is vulnerable to “Confusion, Gaiety, and Pride” and “Lust, Delight, and Thirst” (Cowell xiii.3). By seducing the “child of nature” and doing “for man the work of a woman”, Shamhat (or “Lust”) corrupts Enkido’s purity. “When wit...


... middle of paper ...


...uences. At this point, Gilgamesh grasps the finality of death but is unsettled with its impact on his own life. He questions, “Now what is this sleep that has seized you?” after Enkido dies (George viii.55-56). In seeing that Enkido, someone nearly as strong and mighty as Gilgamesh, die, Gilgamesh becomes aware that by being one-third human he is subject to the same fate. Thus, he embarks on his final journey: one that leads to disappointment, uncertainty, and regret.
In a different perspective, Gilgamesh’s pursuit for immortality is useless and thus reflects his inability to fully mature. The Buddha-karita supports the notion



Works Cited

Cowell, E. B. The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha. N.p.: Oxford at the Clarendon, 1893. Print.
George, A. R. The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. London: Penguin, 2003. Print.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Heroism in Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

- Heroism in Gilgamesh   Heroism entails several things; a selfless act, courage, or the accomplishments of bold and daring expeditions. A hero can often be of divine ancestry. But every hero has faults and these faults along with heroic deeds make the man, or woman; a hero. Gilgamesh loved his friend Enkidu more than he loved himself. A phrase indicating this love for Enkidu is on page 35: "We must go down into the forest together./. . .I will go before you/And protect you. Enkidu followed close behind" This was a selfless act....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]

Strong Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

Diversity Is Recognized And Highly Encouraged Essay

- We have come to a point in our evolution where diversity is recognized and highly encouraged. Segregation has nearly reached its demise and other forms of discrimination will always exist in some individuals however other open minded, peace seeking communities have eradicated it from their their dictionary. Although we as a species are incredibly diverse, whether it be by age, gender, ethnicity or social class, the flaws and the beauty that make us human is found in every single one of us. This repetition of behaviour throughout history is what is referred to as our intellectual heritage....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Humbaba, Cedar Forest]

Strong Essays
2268 words (6.5 pages)

Essay on The Epic Of Gilgamesh, By Gilgamesh

- Epic poetry describes the journey of a worthy hero from his home, into a dangerous setting in order to embark on an accepted mission, with the goal of conquering or completing something great for an even greater prize. Although The Epic of Gilgamesh is meant to emphasize the power of true, loving friendships as the most significant reward in life, Gilgamesh is given multiple journeys to solve an personal, psychological issue that he had never acknowledged. Although the authors use Gilgamesh’s final journey to reveal that he is simply afraid of not being immortal, along with creating Enkidu, I believe that the true psychological reasoning for sending Gilgamesh to meet Utnapishtim, a man who d...   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Ishtar]

Strong Essays
1153 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Epic Of Gilgamesh By Gilgamesh

- The Epic of Gilgamesh is a legendary poem dated way back to early Mesopotamia. This book is extremely important because is often refereed to as the first surviving epic poems in literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh was written and amazingly preserved on clay tablets. This story revels the adventures and journeys that the great king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, embarked on. In Mesopotamian culture, dreams were very important to Mesopotamians. In the book, dreams were repeatedly discussed and considerably focused on....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia, Shamash]

Strong Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

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]

Strong Essays
437 words (1.2 pages)

Gilgamesh And The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

- The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem that was one of the first works of literature, from ancient Mesopotamia. The epic main character is Gilgamesh, and Enkidu. Gilgamesh is two-thirds god and one-third human and he is the king of Uruk. Despite being the protector of the city, he is a rapist and the gods send Enkidu to defeat Gilgamesh. However, when they meet and battle they become commendable friends afterwards. Together they go on several journeys throughout the first half of the epic and once Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh spends the second half of the epic searching for eternal life....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, Mesopotamia]

Strong Essays
1269 words (3.6 pages)

Gilgamesh : The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay example

- Gilgamesh, the mythological King of Uruk, is the main feature in the ancient poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh. Early on in the poem readers learn that Gilgamesh has a harsh and overpowering personality. In fact, many of his nobles live in fear and do not dare to confront him. As a result, they decide to call upon Aruru, the Goddess of Creation, to create a brave enough being that will challenge Gilgamesh. Aruru creates out of moistened clay, Enkidu, who is both equally as strong and as powerful as Gilgamesh....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, Enkidu]

Strong Essays
720 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Gilgamesh, The Epic Of Gilgamesh

- In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the lines that are repeated at the beginning and the end of the epic shows the only definite immortality a human can gain lies in creating things that last beyond a person’s lifetime. Though at first on a quest for eternal life, when Gilgamesh concludes his journey he realizes that he has created an enduring legend through the foundation of his city, Uruk. Through this legend, Gilgamesh lives on in the memory of his people, long after he has passed away. The epic conveys this message multiple ways....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, Mesopotamia]

Strong Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

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]

Strong Essays
1053 words (3 pages)

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]

Free Essays
1766 words (5 pages)