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Gilgamesh's True Identity

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Gilgamesh's True Identity

Gilgamesh, who was made perfect physically, with all of the wisdom and

secrets of the gods, shows he is not perfectly made on the inside as

he struggles to find his true purpose and identity in the Epic of

Gilgamesh. He, who proves good at heart in the conclusion of the epic,

does not know why he was created and is frustrated at his mortal third

in his early life. Made to bring strength and prosperity to the

mortals of Uruk as an honorable king, Gilgamesh must first go on a

journey to find out his true identity and mature along the way.

Whether it is for everlasting life, fame, or his desire to be king-

Gilgamesh searches for his true identity and purpose throughout the

epic, only to find it when he forgets his potential for greatness and

gives up the search for fame.

Gilgamesh feels trapped on the Earth, being one-third man and

two-thirds god, and searches for immortality through the course of his

quest to discover that it is not his destiny to live forever.

Gilgamesh does not know who he meant to be at the start of his life.

Was he created to be a mortal or to earn his right to be a god? He,

frustrated to be in the middle of god and mortal with the world and

death as his entrapment, begins his quest for immortality. Gilgamesh

believes that if he finds immortality he will become more god-like and

discover his purpose. Gilgamesh realizes that he was created greater

than all mortals, but that if he cannot escape death then he ends up

as a mortal in the end. So from the time of his creation, Gilgamesh

searches to find a way to overcome this looming shadow of mortal

death. Although

he is told over an...

... middle of paper ...

...having

given up the search for immortality and fame, and by having lost so

much that he becomes the ruler he was meant to be.

Before Gilgamesh was able to reach his full potential, he needed to

complete a journey. Not a journey to conquer or defeat countless

enemies, not a journey to find everlasting life, and not a journey to

be a great king, but a journey within himself to find who he truly was

meant to be. As shown in the conclusion of the epic, Gilgamesh will

forever be known as the ruler of Uruk, compassionate and wise. His

encounters with Humbaba, the Bull of Heaven, and his vast journey to

the ends of the earth will fade away in time, leaving only the memory

of his honorable rule lasting, surviving the test of time.

Works Cited

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Trans. N.K. Sandars

New York: Putnam, 1972
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