The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the world’s oldest existing stories that were collected in Mesopotamia. It is a story about a heroic king named Gilgamesh, who treated his people in a nasty way. He was a domineering, and cruel leader, feared by many because of his unnatural strength. He forced his people into labor in order to expand his kingdom. The people cried unto the gods and they created Gilgamesh’s equal Enkidu, who they later became friends. Gilgamesh witnessed the death of his close friend Enkidu, and this made him to search for immortality because, he was afraid to die. However, he learnt that, no human was immortal, and that he was destined to die, just like his friend Enkidu.
“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is a didactic story set out to expose the inevitability of death. The true meaning of this story is sometimes overlooked because the story is told in heighten language not easily understood. The epic hero in this story is Gilgamesh; he undertakes a quest for knowledge which is overshadowed by his ignorance. The tragic death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s trusted companion forces the epic hero to change his perception of death. To overcome great obstacles one must be willing to put their ignorance aside. Tzvi Abusch’s analyzes “The Epic of Gilgamesh” in his article “The development and meaning of the Epic of Gilgamesh”. Abusch’s explication of Gilgamesh’s identity, friendship, achievements and ignorance towards death lacks substance.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s pursuit for immortality is marked by ignorance and selfish desire. Desire and ignorance, as The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha suggests, pollutes man’s judgment resulting in his inability to break the cycle of birth and death. At the core of Gilgamesh’s desire resides his inability to accept the inevitability of death, making his rationality behind the pursuit of immortality ignorant and selfish. Implicitly, Gilgamesh’s corrupt desire for immortality conveys that Gilgamesh does not mature as a character.
Siddhartha resolved that he would first go to the Samanas, ascetics that hard lives of self-denial of all comforts and pleasures in order to rid themselves of desire and those emotions that would hinder them on the journey to discovering Atman. Although joining these extremist monks was a high ambition, Siddhartha knew that he would succeed as a Samana, for he believed that the path of the ascetic would aid him on his journey of self-discovery. As his time with the Samanas lengthened, Siddhartha began to take pride in the knowledge that he was not blinded by the material world like everybody else was; he saw the world for what it truly was -- bitter lies and misery. Despite the fact that Siddhartha was becoming a great Samana, revered by even the older monks, he felt that what he had learned from them he could have learned on his own and in less time. Once again, he was not satisfied with the path that he was on and aspired to achieve even greater heights by parting from the Samanas. This ambition is plainly displayed when Siddhartha’s friend Govinda, who had become a Samana as well, proclaimed that Siddhartha would have learned to walk on water had he stayed with the ascetics. Siddhartha simply says that he would “let old
Similarities in The Epic of Gilgamesh and SiddharthaAs portrayed by an unknown author and Herman HesseTwo people who lived in very different times can still share the same beliefs and journeys to find the meaning of life. That is the case with Herman Hesses Siddhartha and the Babylonian text The Epic of Gilgamesh. The protagonists who live in very different times; Siddhartha lived around 625 BCE and Gilgamesh in 2700 BCE, but they follow the same journey to understand themselves and life. Siddhartha and The epic of Gilgamesh were written in two very different time periods yet still have similarities within the characters, the setting and the trials the characters must face.
“You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted him death, but life they retained in their own keeping,” Siduri talking to Gilgamesh. (Gilgamesh 4). The epic of Gilgamesh has an abundance of parallels to the trial and tribulations of any human life. Gilgamesh’s story is humanities story of life, death, and realization. The awaking of Gilgamesh from a childish and secure reality connects my own life experiences to the epic tale.
The Epic of Gilgamesh has its place as one of the first examples of epic poetry in recorded history. The epic describes the adventures of the demigod-king Gilgamesh who, after the death of his close friend Enkidu, seeks immortality but is ultimately unsuccessful. This story arc is not dissimilar to those found in the epics of the ancient Greeks centuries later. This excerpt from The Epic of Gilgamesh clearly demonstrates Gilgamesh’s reckless lust for pride and fame at all costs.
Siddhartha was a rather intriguing young man, the son of a wealthy Brahmin. He experienced a life of pleasures, living among this higher class. He was happy here until he felt he could never reach enlightenment under the teachings of his father and set out to start his own enlightened path. Siddhartha was written by Herman Hesse, based on India during the Buddhist movement. Hesse was a German born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter, in 1946 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Hesse portrays
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would quite literally go to the end of the world to retrieve it? This is an attribute that perfectly describes the character of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is the main character of the ancient Uruk epic that is known as the epic of Gilgamesh. He experiences a lot of hardship and tribulations throughout the story. Some of the things are the loss of his “brother” Enkidu, which makes him want to become Immortal, the death of Humbaba This changes him in many different ways, like how he changes the way he acts from acting like a god to a noble and fair king. My goal in this paper is to show you how the events of the death of Humbaba, the death of Enkidu and his quest for his immortality
The story about Gilgamesh is one of the earliest pieces of world literature dating back to the second millennium B.C.E. This story has been evolved gradually over a long span of a millennium, and has been enjoyed by many nations. The Epic of Gilgamesh teaches life lessons that apply to the past and present while revolving around the question of what it means to be human, and to experience the phenomenon of friendship, love, and death.
In the departure phase of his journey, Siddhartha completely shuns both internal and external desires and lives a more than humble life. During Siddhartha’s conversation with his father about leaving home, Siddhartha’s father, “returned again after an hour and again after two hours, looked through the window and saw Siddhartha standing there in the moonlight, in the starlight, in the dark” (11). Hermann Hesse’s use of dark and light imagery, emphasizes Siddhartha’s stubbornness for his desire to go with the Samanas, whose religious ideals are severe self discipline and restraint of all indulgence; he is adamant about leaving home, as his father checked on him countlessly and Siddhartha stood there unwavering despite the many hours and change of daylight so he could earn his father’s blessing to live the lifestyle of an ascetic. Furthermore, Siddhartha travels to the Samanas with Govinda to destroy Self and the multitudinous amount of desire by quelling each desire and all together Self even though he knows it is a difficult goal to achieve, “Although Siddhartha fled from Self a thousand times, dwelt in nothing, dwelt in animal and stone, the return was inevitable” (16). The effect of Siddhartha’s multiple attempted destructions of Self as a consequence of living as a Samana are failure in his attempt to discover Nirvana. Moreover, Siddhartha travels with Govinda to the Buddha after leaving the
In the ?Epic of Gilgamesh,? Gilgamesh deals with an issue that nearly destroyed him. He sought after immortality so much that he put his own life on the edge. Centuries later, this quest unites our high tech, fast paced culture with the remote and different culture of Gilgamesh. Humanity has yet to find the secret of letting go of the idea of everlasting life.
Perhaps one of the main reasons the Epic of Gilgamesh is so popular and has lasted such a long time, is because it offers insight into the human concerns of people four thousand years ago, many of which are still relevant today. Some of these human concerns found in the book that are still applicable today include: the fear and concerns people have in relation to death, overwhelming desires to be immortal, and the impact a friendship has on a person’s life. It does not take a great deal of insight into The Epic of Gilgamesh for a person to locate these themes in the story, and even less introspection to relate to them.
Unlike many people he treated business as a game and did not stress over his failures and did not praise his success. As a result, Siddhartha was able to go from “rags to riches.” Over time however, Hesse writes, “Gradually, along with his growing riches, Siddhartha himself acquired some of the characteristics of the ordinary people, some of their childishness and some of their anxiety” (77). Though Siddhartha envied them for the one thing he lacked, the sense of importance with which they lived their lives.