Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

1122 Words Apr 9th, 2011 5 Pages
Analysis of the Epic of Gilgamesh The epic of Gilgamesh is the earliest primary document discovered in human history dating back to approximately 2,000 B.C.E. This document tells a story of an ancient King Gilgamesh, ruler of Sumer in 2,700 B.C.E. who is created gloriously by gods as one third man and two third god. In this epic, Gilgamesh begins his kingship as an audacious and immature ruler. Exhausted from complaints, the gods send a wild man named Enkidu to become civilized and assist Gilgamesh to mature into a righteous leader. However, Enkidus death causes Gilgamesh to realize his fear of immortality and search for an escape from death. On his journey, Gilgamesh learns that the gods will not grant his wish and that he must …show more content…
The author is praising Gilgamesh’s leadership by communicating his intellectual capabilities deserve respect. This, shows that ancient Mesopotamians believed that part of a great ruler’s value was revealed in their advanced intellectual capacities. The epic reveals that ancient Mesopotamia understood that the basis of a monarch’s legitimacy relied on the respect he carried for not only the beings whom he rules and those who rule over him, but also his knowledge. The epic gives insight to the ways in which ancient Mesopotamians valued life. This becomes most obvious when Enkidu reveals to Gilgamesh his nightmare of the dark and enslaving afterlife as he is dying (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 2). This leaves Gilgamesh with extreme terror of death which provokes his desperate attempts to escape it. Giving death fearful and dark characteristics communicates that the afterlife is a harrowing experience and life is the individual’s harmonious experience. This serves to establish that ancient Mesopotamians sensed that life was something to be cherished and conceived of in a positive light. In addition, Mesopotamian life views are also illustrated when Gilgamesh must accept that he will not receive his requests for immortality from the gods (The Epic of Gilgamesh, 2). This suggests Mesopotamian society believed wise men should be grateful for their destiny and that he or she should not reach beyond what they are given. In doing so, this
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