In the final half Gilgamesh attempts to drive his immortality through questioning others. Gilgamesh first attempts to find his purpose on his own, but failing in that effort turns to others for it. In clear contrast the first and second halves of this epic convey the universal truth that happiness, meaning and purpose to ones life are found internally, not externally. But we must not forget that the story of Gilgamesh is a common one. How often does man look externally for happiness when it is best found within?
This change is part of Gilgamesh's transformations towards becoming a hero. Gilgamesh changes as a result of Enkidu's death. According to the text, it states, “Gilgamesh interferes in the lives of his subjects beyond his right as king”(175). This proves that Gilgamesh was bothering and annoying the people of Uruk. Gilgamesh is going to become king soon and he shouldn’t disregard or interfere with his subject’s private life.
Throughout history people long to find that inner-being who becomes enlightened with knowledge to acquire an everlasting existence. For one to search for everlasting life and conquer beast may merely be just a rhythm of life that has forever held to the test of time. For any man and every man can relate to a god, but the human mortality of temporary existence comes bleeding through at some point in time. Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Odysseus all portrayed having god like qualities, yet their human mortality lead them to be remembered as heroes to their cultures and civilizations. Gilgamesh is a strong, powerful, arrogant leader that is two-thirds god and one part human.
He begins to question the meaning of life or its meaninglessness. Suddenly, death becomes an undeniable reality to him, there is no going back.” (Sadigh 83) Gilgamesh makes the fate of all mortals, death, his final eminent task to conquer. He begins with an immediate attemp... ... middle of paper ... ...measures to stay alive as long as possible. Though, they actually just lose life worrying about avoiding death. Desperation for everlasting life only corrupts humans into accommodating short-lived and catastrophic means to avoid the fate of dying Even though Gilgamesh was one of the most favorable rulers before Enkidu came along, he is still a frequent topic in today’s literature as well as history.
Along with these reasons, Odysseus has endured many trials and tribulations over the course of his travels that might convince him to accept the offer of immortality. Despite all of these perfectly sensible reasons for accepting the offer of immortality, Odysseus sticks to his guns and turns the offer down. One of his reasons is that he realizes that an immortal life would be a long and boring one, and Odysseus lives for excitement and glory. This, however, is not his most important reason that Odysseus turns down this offer of immortality. This is presented beginning on line 236 of Book V where Odysseus openly admits that Penelope cannot compare in beauty or stature, but he still pines for her.
In Beowulf and Gilgamesh, both heroes desire to gain everlasting life. At one point, Gilgamesh believes that he can actually gain eternal life and change his destiny. Beowulf, and eventually Gilgamesh, end up gaining everlasting life through their monuments and the good deeds that their people will remember them by. The ancient societies depicted in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Beowulf are no doubt representative of the actual societies that existed during those time periods. These ancient people were greatly concerned with issues such as death, fate, and destiny.
However, instead of using his fortune in a noble manner, Gilgamesh acts as if he is a full god, ignorant to the consequences of his actions and how this portrayed his character to his people. "By day and by night his tyranny grows harsher... lets no daughter go free to her mother... lets no girl go free to her bridegroom." (George, 169-175). This ultimately caused the people of Uruk to pray to the gods to send a response to Gilgamesh's rule, which will be discussed later. Achilles, son of Thetis, also had divine blood flowing through his veins.
And as a hero he achieved his desire for immortality through the poem itself. Each of the four heroic traits can be identified within the three battles in which Beowulf participates: His battle with Grendel, his undersea struggle with the Grendel’s Mother, and his final fight with the dragon. Before going off to do battle with Grendel, Beowulf gives a speech that may appear conceited to the modern reader, but is in actuality a simple device used to insure his immortality through fame. Beowulf states, “I claim myself no poorer in war strength, war works, than Grendel claims himself. Therefor I will not put him to sleep with a sword… and then may wise God, Holy Lord, assign glory on whichever hand seems good to him” (35-36).
Although some may side with Gilgamesh in that immortality is to be sought after, I stand with McKibben and agree that immortality could be a bad thing. Immortality can void our humanity. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, immortality is the main prize that Gilgamesh tries to attain. However, it was his mortality that kept him human. Gilgamesh was part god and part man and already had trouble relating to his people.
Gilgamesh realizes his impending death and searches for immortality to obtain more fame and recognition. A very important part of the story is how the gods react to the way he has handled himself. Utnapishtim talks about the meritless journeys he went on instead of helping Uruk. This goes to show that even back in 2000 BC, they still knew how important it was to be a selfless leader. The story ends by