Gilgamesh : The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

Gilgamesh : The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

The epic story of Gilgamesh in its long, poetic form speaks of another, fantastical world. Yet within the narrative of gods, half-gods, and humanization of creatures, many familiar themes arise that continue to be relevant and explored in modern literature. Ideas on friendship, the power of the gods and love are among those raised in the story with one of the main themes being the desire and search for immortality. As the story unfolds, Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, learns of death leading him on a quest for eternal life only to discover and finally accept the inevitability of humans dying. Recognizing that he will one day die allows Gilgamesh to finally appreciate the city he has built and the people within it.

Gilgamesh, the king of the ancient Sumerian city-state of Uruk, is handsome, strong and ruthless. Half man and half god, Gilgamesh ran his city brutally and was merciless. He “does not leave a girl to her mother(?)!", any woman that caught his eye he would not hesitate to engage in sexual relations. In battles he chose to fight, warriors were lost needlessly. The city of Uruk, despite its splendor and beauty, was built by the forced labor of men treated as slaves. This strong tyrant had given no thought to his mortality until he had experienced true love and friendship and then lost it. After this loss, the one thing Gilgamesh wants most is to live forever, however, this is the one thing he is unable to receive from the gods. Even though he is the strongest and most important man in the city he comes to realize that he is still human and rejecting this thought, strives for immortality.

In defiance of death, eager for an adventure and to accomplish great things for Uruk and themselves, Gilgamesh and his...


... middle of paper ...


...rned in the end that the quality of one’s life is measured not by how much money one has or how brave one is, but by the quality of the time spent while alive and the people with which one surrounds himself. The search for eternal life in the epic of Gilgamesh can be compared to all humans even today, where we attempt to ensure that we live for as long as possible. Many humans had searched and failed to find “the fountain of youth”, an imaginary promise of living forever, much like the plant Gilgamesh found in the sea. Yet when we inevitably die, what is left of us are the memories, good and bad, that we created while alive. Building is better than destroying in passing forward a memory that will live forever and this is what Gilgamesh also learned. The epic adventures of Gilgamesh who feared death has, on the contrary, immortalized him in history and through time.

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