A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh

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A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh

This paper will provide a unique, psychological perspective on a timeless story that is alive with mythological and religious splendor. I must state clearly that this is not the first time that Gilgamesh has been viewed in the light of the philosophy of Jung. One of two Jung essays I happened upon while preparing my research was the Psychology of Religion. Although I initially felt that this source would provide little help with my paper, I was very mistaken. On the seventeenth page, I have discovered Jung directly referencing Gilgamesh himself.

While researching, I consulted the many translations of Gilgamesh found on the web. It seemed that the more sources I sought, the greater the amount of differing opinions and convoluted versions I uncovered. In an effort to remain true to the epic, I will mainly be referring to the book, World Mythology, written by Donna Rosenberg with a few inclusions from Kovacs' translations. Although Rosenberg's version lacks the flair of the latter, it provides a simple doorway opening to a complicated, yet profound, tale of the first great epic that brings time, mortality, and the anguish of humanity into a world of personal destiny basically related to our own (Campbell, OM, p. 87-90). The essay is written with the understanding that the reader has prior knowledge of the main subject matter, Dr. Carl Jung's theories of the unconscious, and Joseph Campbell's idea that myths are synchronistically reproduced across time.

Archaeologists and historians feel confident that Gilgamesh was originally written by the Sumerians and later adapted by the Babylonians who kept the identities of Sumer's original gods and goddesses. According to Mauree...

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.... (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989)

Jackson, Danny P.,ed. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1992.

Maier, John ed. Gilgamesh. A Reader. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1997.

Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh. A Verse Narrative. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.

Sandars, Nancy K. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Harmmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1968, 1971.

Temple, Robert, He Who Saw Everything: A Verse Version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Rider, 1991

Thompson, R. Campbell. Gilgamesh: Text, Translation, and Notes. Oxford: Clarendon, 1930.

Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God: Creative Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1968, pp. 4-14, 78-79.

Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York: Penguin Books, 1964, pp. 9-10, 87-92.

Woolley, C. Leonard. THE SUMERIANS. New York: AMS PRESS, INC., 1970, p. 22.

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