Theme Of Death In Gilgamesh

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"I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens," is a quote by Woody Allen. Death is something unavoidable, because to live means to die. After experiencing death, outlooks on life can change, and the reality of when and what will happen sets in. Yet it can also be a motivating factor to live as much as possible with no regrets, before the last days come. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the theme of death plays an important role by becoming a motivating factor for Gilgamesh, who didn't want to end up like his friend Enkidu. Enkidu's death affected Gilgamesh by making him come to the realization that it is inevitable, to finally realize what's important, and to become compassionate by thinking and caring for people other than…show more content…
Enkidu is the representation of the wilder side of life, having lived with animals and nature, "He fed on grass with gazelles, With beasts he jostled at the water hole." (Pg. 102, Lines 102-103) Gilgamesh, on the other hand, was the King of a civilization, known for his greatness and strength. They were two sides of a coin, and one could relate to the other. After Gilgamesh insults the princess Ishtar, she pleads with her father, Anu, to send the Bull of Heaven to attack Gilgamesh for revenge. Enkidu and Gilgamesh battle the bull, and win, but Enkidu had been injured, and ends up dying. This forced Gilgamesh's eyes open to the reality that everyone can die. Until then, he had thought nothing much about it, being a Demigod and the best at everything, he could afford to be brave. However, Enkidu, who was the only person in the world to be considered equal to him, was taken down, and the implications of that struck Gilgamesh hard, making him realize that he's not immortal. This causes him to become emaciated, and obsessed with the idea of finding immortality. He wanders aimlessly for a while, before remembering Utanapishtim, a man who was granted immortality by the…show more content…
At the beginning of the Epic, it is plain to see that Gilgamesh beliefs he is entitled to anything he wants, with no regard to how it will affect others. It is shown how Gilgamesh even goes so far as to take women the night before their wedding for himself. "Bold, superb, accomplished and mature! Gilgamesh would leave no girl to her mother! The warrior's daughter, the young man's spouse, Goddesses kept hearing their plaints." (Pg. 101, Lines 64-67) Even though Gilgamesh was thought to be the best and no one was his equal, he was also selfish and entitled, leading to the complaints of his subjects. These complaints caused the Goddesses to create Enkidu, an equal to Gilgamesh, and for the first time, he showed friendship and compassion to another human being. After Enkidu's death, he had no reason for compassion, but in the end, he still managed to realize that Uruk, the kingdom he had built, was what was important, as were its people. Never before had Gilgamesh given a thought to the well-being of others, but Enkidu's death was the start of his journey into becoming a better
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