For example, “the gods have said that one of us must die, because we killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heavens… But Shamash spoke for me and called me innocent,” 4 (Mason, 1970) pg 46 shows when Shamash, Gilgamesh’s protector tries to plead other gods for Enkidu’s life, they ignore it and let him suffer. Enkidu suffers and eventually dies from an illness, leaving Gilgamesh heartbroken. The interactions between the divine and the mundane show a sense of inferiority and superiority. The gods are very superior and get their ways, while the people have to obey them. For example, the gods decided Enkidu’s death and there was no way out but to abide to it.
Not only that, but Apollo’s oracle told Oedipus about his terrible fate that involve his parents to make him move to Thebes. Finally, they send a plague to the Thebans for not punishing the murderer of their king, which results in Oedipus’ exile or execution. Oedipus, the wise king, has never been destroyed by an evil man, but he was totally destroyed by what they call merciful, just gods.
Apparently, convinced not to use his power on his own people, Gilgamesh wants to channel his strength elsewhere, by challenging the gods. After Gilgamesh spurns the advances of the goddess Ishtar, she sends the Bull of Heaven to punish him. Even knowing that he has offended the gods, Gilgamesh scoffs at the punishment and crushes the Bull. Angered at this defiant action, the gods punished Gilgamesh by killing Enkidu, his only friend. And thus, Gilgamesh breaks.
Having created new life Victor looks upon his creation. However, usurping the power of god does not make one god. Victor is unable to feel compassion for his newly created creature as he views him as horribly ugly. Victor twice rejects the creature, unable to look at the monstrosity he made and it eventually flees. Victor believes the creature has left for good, but as he comes to find out the creature's existence will haunt him till his death.
In life, human nature is the only thing that never changes, even as humans progress and evolve. Humans all have the same wants and needs. We need love, compassion, and we want to be happy. In Homer's the Odyssey, the characters have strong opinions and act out of their own free will, but at the same time, the will of the gods keeps coming up as a force that directs events. Although the gods have power against the mortal's, free will is a force much greater then any other power known to mortals and even the gods.
Of all of the events that occurred, the gods were not pleased. After the bull was killed and the cedar trees were cut, Enkidu had to be seen by the gods in council. Thus, the decision that Enkidu must die because of these acts was established. (53) The death of his friend is unreal to Gilgamesh. Thorkild Jacobsen points out that “…it touches him in all its stark reality, and Gilgamesh refuses to believe it.” (Thorkild Jacobsen, “And Death The Journey’s End,” 191) Gilgamesh goes on to seek eternal life.
He finds the god of love, Ishtar, who has a lust towards Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh rejects her offer. Ishtar gets angry and asks her father god of the sky, Anu, to send the bull of heaven to earth to punish Gilgamesh. The beast comes to earth and brings along seven years of famine. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight together and conquer the bull.
At birth a mortal is given a preset destiny that cannot be altered not even by Zeus, king of the gods. However the will of Zeus can alter fates plan, but the gods choose to refrain from such actions. Destiny and fate are widely present as mortals are trapped by their own destinies. In The Iliad is every action predetermined and do mortals have the ability to alter fate with free will? Those who are aware of their destinies
Returning to the quotation “… the great leveler, Death: not even the gods/ can defend a man, not even one they love, that day/ when fate takes hold and lays him out at last’” (Homer 3.269-271). Death is a power that surpasses the gods. In The Odyssey we are introduced to gods who control the water, the wind, and the decisions of men. They can bring peace and war, but the one thing they cannot do is prevent a mortal’s fated death. This alone shows how central death is to The Odyssey.
Enkidu kills the bull while sacrificing himself in the process. After witnessing Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh is afraid of what death and what life really has to offer. So Gilgamesh goes on his own journey to find immortality and sees for himself what life really offers for human mortality. In the end, Gilgamesh misses his chance of achieving eternal life but he realizes that even though he will die, the life adventures he experienced have made life worth living for. Gilgamesh’s story begins when he is born from a goddess.