The Epic of Gilgamesh

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Perhaps one of the main reasons the Epic of Gilgamesh is so popular and has lasted such a long time, is because it offers insight into the human concerns of people four thousand years ago, many of which are still relevant today. Some of these human concerns found in the book that are still applicable today include: the fear and concerns people have in relation to death, overwhelming desires to be immortal, and the impact a friendship has on a person’s life. It does not take a great deal of insight into The Epic of Gilgamesh for a person to locate these themes in the story, and even less introspection to relate to them.
While many people today seem to be scared to die, and make great strides to avoid an early death, this is not a new human concern. In fact, Dr. Peter J. Brand did some extensive research on how people in Ancient Mesopotamia viewed death and the afterlife. He believes death was extremely scary to people of this region. In his article titled: Dying: Death and the Afterlife, Brand states, “Like all human cultures, the people of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were greatly troubled by death.” (Brand pg. 1) Apparently, it death was even more dreadful in the minds of the Mesopotamians. “Mesopotamian views of death were more pessimistic, resulting in less elaborate preparations for death.” (Brand pg.1) On the contrary, it seems that there would have been a lot of preparation involved, since the journey to the underworld alone was a perilous feat. This tells us that there was nothing glorified about death, and nothing exciting about traveling to the underworld. However, it reveals that there was a lot of confusion surrounding death, and confusion how to deal with it. Dr. Brand goes on to talk about how the underworld was a ...

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Works Cited Page
Foster, Benjamin R. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Gen. Ed. Martin Puchner. 3rd ed. Vol. A. New York: Norton, 2012. 95-151. Print. 13 March 2014.
Brand, Peter J. “Dying: Death and the Afterlife” PDF file. 13 March 2013
Guzman, Jennifer de. Personal. Writing Therapy. “The Mirror of Grief: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Ecclesiastes” 28 December 2010. . 13 March 2013
Donlin-Smith, Thomas. “The Spirituality of the Epic of Gilgamesh.” PDF file. 12 March 2014
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