Athanasia: Human Impermanence and the Journey for Eternal Life in the Epic of Gilgamesh

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Athanasia: Human Impermanence and the Journey for Eternal Life in the Epic of Gilgamesh “Will you too die as Enkidu did? Will grief become your food? Will we both fear the lonely hills, so vacant? I now race from place to place, dissatisfied with whereever I am and turn my step toward Utnapishtim, godchild of Ubaratutu” (Jackson “Gilgamesh Tablet IX” 4-9) Gilgamesh so much feared death that he threw away his honor as a warrior in order to obtain immortality. For centuries there have existed individuals who yearn for everlasting life. A journey that so many have traversed, but have failed in the attempt. 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. The word immortality plays a crucial role in the development of characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh; It reveals the importance of life everlasting, and the triumph of humanity’s inordinate fear of eternal rest, death. The focal point of this paper is to shed light on the nature of Gilgamesh and his pilgrimage for immortality after the death of his dearest companion Enkidu. Gilgamesh, a figure of celestial stature, a divine being, allows his mortal side to whittle away his power. Undeniably, defenseless before the validity of his own end, Gilgamesh 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). Throughout the epic, readers are able to readily postulate that Enkidu is an indispensable piece of Gilgamesh’s being. Enkidu assumes the role of being the complete... ... middle of paper ... ...14. This paper gives a brief summary of “Gilgamesh,” and how it is among the first and oldest stories ever told. The article postulates the concept of existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will. The paper explores the works of Kierkegaard, Buber, and Heidegger. The paper in itself is a somewhat detailed analysis of the hero, and the deeper messages of him dealing with death and searching for meaning in his existence. The Baptist Hymnal, for Use in the Church and Home. Valley Forge, PA: Judson, 2001. Print. This book is an incorporation of various hymns that are used by individuals of the Baptist faith. The book has approximately 725 hymns, ranging from traditional worships to common chants.

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