The Epic of Gilgamesh

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Would an infinite life be better than a finite life? Many people throughout history have pondered such thoughts and, The Epic of Gilgamesh, by an anonymous author from ancient Mesopotamia, is a story that focuses on this idea of eternal life. Gilgamesh who is a powerful king in the city of Uruk is two thirds god and one third man and therefore mortal. The idea of death does not fully penetrate him until his best friend, Enkidu, dies. Enkidu is much like Gilgamesh in being both part god and part human. Enkidu’s death is what sparks Gilgamesh’s motivation to set out on a journey to find eternal life. At first Gilgamesh fears death because Enkidu died; his feelings change after his quest when Gilgamesh accepts death, and he realizes mortals are not meant to live forever.

Initially, the death of Enkidu causes Gilgamesh to spiral out of control and he is taken over by his fear of death. Just after Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh roams the wilderness in panic. He says to himself, “I am going to die! Am I not like Enkidu?! Deep sadness penetrates my core, I fear death…” This shows that he had neve...

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