A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

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A Jungian Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh

This paper will provide a unique, psychological perspective on a timeless story that is alive with mythological and religious splendor. I must state clearly that this is not the first time that Gilgamesh has been viewed in the light of the philosophy of Jung. One of two Jung essays I happened upon while preparing my research was the Psychology of Religion. Although I initially felt that this source would provide little help with my paper, I was very mistaken. On the seventeenth page, I have discovered Jung directly referencing Gilgamesh himself.

While researching, I consulted the many translations of Gilgamesh found on the web. It seemed that the more sources I sought, the
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The tablets were uncovered mainly in the palace and temple libraries of Ninevah in Assyria around the seventh century before Christ (Kovacs, xvii). Although there is no tangible evidence, according to Kovacs, it is assumed that the stories and deeds of Gilgamesh were recorded in his own time around 2500 BC (Kovacs, xxii). It seems that even though Gilgamesh's adventures may have been embellishments, he was indeed a living man who ruled the city of Uruk at the end of the early Sumerian second Dynastic period after the great Mesopotamian flood when kings became deified (Kovacs, xxvii, Woolley, p. 22).

Gilgamesh was said to have been two-thirds god and one part man and this self-description may have originated from the above mentioned Sumerian desire to deify their kings. Carl Jung seems to describe this as when "the gods first lived in superhuman power and beauty on top of snow-clad mountains or in the darkness of caves, woods, and seas. Later on they drew together into one god, and then god became man" (Jung, p. 102). Gilgamesh's heroic journey has been exalted because it is more than just a great adventure story, it is also an incredible intellectual pursuit (Rosenberg, p. 173). Not only must he have great courage and determination to defeat the obstacles before him, Gilgamesh must also possess undeterred patience, internal fortitude, and willful self-examination (Rosenberg, p. 173). "For at another level, one is to
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