Desperate Search for Immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh
The search for immortality seems to be an obsession for many men and women all throughout history. In the Epic of Gilgamesh a man investigates the possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend, his brother Enkidu. That man, Gilgamesh, feeling the fear of the possibility of his own mortality which was before unrealized before the death of Enkidu, searches for a way to preserve himself.
Is it truly that Gilgamesh searches for a physical immortality or more of a spiritual immortality? Gilgamesh wishes to give the flower of immortality to the elders of the city to rejuvenate them and return the youth to the kingdom of Uruk. This show of selflessness and concern for his people is a sight that might not have been seen a short while before his meeting with Enkidu and his influence on Gilgamesh which changed his view of life. Gilgamesh clearly tries in the end to restore the youth to the elders for the purpose of keeping the memory of not only himself but also Enkidu alive. As long as your culture and relatives survive so do you. Every relative has a piece of you carried along with them.
Why didn’t Gilgamesh just eat the plant and live as an immortal? Perhaps it was because if he were to eat the plant he would become a lonely king who just would become more and more saddened by his people whom he loved die over and over again and only he would remain. His close friend, Enkidu, was gone. His father warnied him of the loneliness - perhaps this convinced Gilgamesh of his course of action.
Gilgamesh has been through many adventures and he gained wisdom to go along with his god like physical powers. Gilgamesh learns that the greatest type of immortality is the noncorporeal. The worth of a man's life is many times said to be measured by the things he has done and the legacy that he has left behind. After realizing that he was not a god-man, Gilgamesh understood that the real glory is in the deeds you have done and the people you have affected in good ways over your life.
Many ancient peoples had stories with morals to them. The Epic of Gilgamesh clearly promotes the moral feelings of the time.