In a more symbolical way of thinking, immortality could be living on through remembrance of one’s accomplishments. This paper concentrates on the character of Gilgamesh and his pursuit of immortality after the loss of his friend Enkidu in tablet VII. For such a powerful character, a demigod at that, Gilgamesh lets his human side to emasculate his true power. Desperate for obtaining immortality, Gilgamesh deserts Uruk to begin his search for Utnapishtim, whom had survived the great flood and given immorality by the gods. As Enkidu obviously becomes an important part of Gilgamesh’s life, in the beginning, he is represented as Gilgamesh’s total opposite; his other half in fact.
“How can I rest, how can I be at peace? Despair is in my heart. What my brother is now, that shall be when I am dead. Because I am afraid of death I will go as best as I can to find Utnapishtim whom they call farwell, for he has entered the assembly of gods.” (Gilgamesh, 507) Gilgamesh finally finds Utnapishtim and demands for immortally. Untnapishtim explains to Gilgamesh that all that he did was obey the gods, in return the gods gave him immortality.
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 in tablet VII. 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 immor... ... middle of paper ... ... Freeman, Philip. "Lessons from a Demigod."
In the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh embarks upon a quest seeking immortality as a means to peace, meaning, and joy in life. He tries to reach it in many different ways, each as unsuccessful as its predecessor. The two main types of immortality are physical and through the actions or achievements of ones life. Gilgamesh tries first through his actions, but then undergoes a transformation which leads him to next attempt physical immortality. He eventually comes back to the point at which he began; however, now he realizes that the beginning point was always the object of his quest.
Nevertheless, his fate was sealed by his actions of pride and determination. His pride of conquering the Sphinx led him to the marriage of Jocasta, his mother. When avenging Jocasta’s previous husband, and his true father, King Laius’ death, he was blinded by his pride to the concept that perhaps he was the murderer. Not knowing the truth, he cursed himself to an “evil death-in-life of misery”. Of course at that time, Oedipus failed to realize his connections to Jocasta and Laius, but recognition of the truth would bring him to his eventual suffrage.
A hunter sent a prostitute to “civilize” him and make him a human being. Enkidu sleeps with her and the animals no longer accept him. Enkidu goes to Uruk to challenge Gilgamesh and his cruel rule. He stops Gilgamesh from harassing a bride. The story very clearly presents the feelings of the people towards their king at this scene, when the people begin to cheer for Enkidu, who is fighting against their king.
In the end, Gilgamesh learns that death in inevitable and every human being is destined to die; only the gods are immortal. In essence, the story is about the epitome of immortality which has existed and will never change. The story is very important because, it perpetuates that, despite the western influence on life, the essence of the human nature and experience will never change; they will always remain the same. Gilgamesh was a cruel ruler but in the end of the story, he went back to his people a changed person who no longer fought death, and started embracing the life he had with the people around him because he knew that, death was unavoidable. Gilgamesh learnt that, death is inevitability, and immortality is unachievable.
Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh Abstract: The most interesting stories invariably are about love and death. These two themes underlie the Epic of Gilgamesh, a mythic tale of the quest for immortality. Gilgamesh, profoundly affected by the death of his friend Enkidu at the hands of the gods, questions the injustice of life. Finding no answer, he of course tries to change—indeed, eliminate—the question by seeking immortality. The following essay examines Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s relationship, and the effect of Enkidu’s death on Gilgamesh.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the greatest text of Mesopotamia and one of the earliest pieces of world literature. Gilgamesh quest for immortality explores human concerns about death, friendship, nature, civilization, power, violence, travel adventures, homecoming, love and sexuality. Gilgamesh is 2/3 god because of his superhuman strength and endurance; he is 1/3 human because of his mortality. The gods are portrayed in a variety of ways in the Gilgamesh epic. In this epic the gods acted very unfairly and impulsively throughout the epic, but also take action to help their people.
Every action of his led created a domino effect and him to go on a journey. For instance, the death of Enkidu was a contributing factor into Gilgamesh’s transformation. If Enkidu hadn’t died, Gilgamesh would have continued on living in an illusion. Perhaps, this epic is meant to be a cautionary tale to warn those with a similar lust for immortality to not indulge in it and rather concentrate their focus and energy on something tangible. Since the desire of immortality is impossible to attain and leaves much reparations.