The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poetry that originates from Mesopotamia. It is among the earliest known literature in Mesopotamia. Many scholars believe that it originated from a series of Sumerian poems, and legends about Gilgamesh who is the protagonist. It is known to be the oldest recorded story in the human history that is over 4000 years old.
The story portrays Mesopotamia’s society in the third millennium B.C.E vision of after life. In addition, the story tells shows the reader how the people in Mesopotamia believed in the gods, and offered sacrifices for their prayers to be answered. The people of Uruk cried to the gods to be liberated from the cruelties of Gilgamesh, and they did so by offering sacrifices to the gods. It shows that the people were polytheists as they had different gods representing a different part of nature of physical. The Mesopotamian gods were harsh because they punished those who went against them. An example is when they proclaimed that Enkidu must die as compensation for his actions with Gilgamesh by killing Humbaba, and the Bull of Heaven, and also the chopping of the tallest cedar tree in the Cedar Forest.
The story is about Gilgamesh, a cruel Sumerian leader who led the city of Uruk. Gilgamesh never cared about the people he ruled in fact he treated them so badly. He was half god, and half human and therefore, considered himself very great with no equal. The people of Uruk cried to the gods to set them free from Gilgamesh’s oppression by offering sacrifices to the gods. It also talks of the relationship between Gilgamesh who was the ruler of Uruk, and Enkidu his close friend. Enkidu was a wild man who was created by the gods to distract, and stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the citizens of Ur...
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...a journey to search eternal life which he never found. In the end, Gilgamesh learns that death in inevitable and every human being is destined to die; only the gods are immortal. In essence, the story is about the epitome of immortality which has existed and will never change. The story is very important because, it perpetuates that, despite the western influence on life, the essence of the human nature and experience will never change; they will always remain the same. Gilgamesh was a cruel ruler but in the end of the story, he went back to his people a changed person who no longer fought death, and started embracing the life he had with the people around him because he knew that, death was unavoidable. Gilgamesh learnt that, death is inevitability, and immortality is unachievable.
Sandars, N. K., trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin, 1972.
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