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Contrast of “Gilgamesh” and “The Flood”

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Not doing suitably what you are advised to do, are human downfalls having no recompense; whereas, following the rules on timely basis will be the most worthwhile outcome. Contrasting the Benjamin R. Foster’s and Stephen Mitchell’s translation “Gilgamesh,” to the Robert Altar’s translation “The Flood,” each story has a very different emphasis and draws a different moral. The emphasis of “Gilgamesh,” becoming eternal and what steps can be taken to receive it. However, the emphasis of “The Flood” is true righteousness will give a prolonged life. The different emphasis of each story causes the moral of each story to be different. For instance, “Gilgamesh” teaches; not doing what is advised will cause lost opportunities and “The Flood” teaches; righteousness will cause unforeseen blessings.

When looking at the emphasis of “Gilgamesh”, the translations of “Gilgamesh” begins with Gilgamesh, a mortal human, asking Utnapishtim, an eternal human, how he was able to become eternal. Utnapishtim says to Gilgamesh, “I will tell you a mystery, a secret of the Gods (Foster 26).” After explaining the story of the flood, Utnapishtim explains to Gilgamesh, he did as he was instructed by Ea, a God, and was set apart; along with his wife, with the endowment of immortality. Utnapishtim then offers immortality to Gilgamesh if Gilgamesh can abide by some simple instructions from Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim says, “First pass the test: Just stay awake for seven days. Prevail against sleep, and perhaps you will prevail against death (Mitchell 31).” However, Gilgamesh not taking seriously the advice, falls asleep shortly after sitting down. Utnapishtim seeing Gilgamesh asleep says to his wife, “Look as this Fellow! He wanted to live forever, but the v...

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...y on Earth can equal (33).” Gilgamesh built the wall before he went to Utnapishtim and Utnapishtim was aware of Gilgamesh feelings of superiority. Since the story of “Gilgamesh” starts with Gilgamesh saying to Utnapishtim, “Your limbs are not different at all; you are just as I am! (18),” moreover, proves Gilgamesh wanted eternity, but did not deserve it. The moral of the story being eternity is earned and not giving freely.

Works Cited

Alter, Robert. "The Flood." Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2006. 2 vols. 43-46.

Foster, Benjamin R. "Gilgamesh." Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2006. 2 vols. 18-26.

Mitchell, Stephen. "Gilgamesh." Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2006. 2 vols. 26-34.
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