Epic of Gilgamesh

1581 Words Nov 21st, 2013 7 Pages
Introduction The epic poem dubbed the Epic of Gilgamesh is perhaps the earliest surviving literature on the face of the planet. The poem came from Mesopotamia in its original cuneiform script comprising 12 tablets. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a chronicle detailing the classic adventures of Gilgamesh, a historic king of Uruk. Over the years, historians have eliminated the 12th tablet for alleged inconsistencies. The poem depicts a wide range of themes such as the inevitability of death, which is portrayed when Gilgamesh’s struggle to be young backfires. Other themes include the struggle between humanity and divine power, necessity of friendship, oppression, and the enduring struggle for power along with the conflict between the rulers …show more content…
Therefore, the interaction between divine and mundane entities was anarchical for the most part. The gods valued piety and as such, respect and obedience was important to them. Another reason for the conflict in the interactions with the gods was that human reverence for their divinity was no guarantee for protection. For instance, the floods that swept Uruk killed many innocent people who revered the gods for the sins of their king. The divine entities in the poem are comparable to God as depicted in the Bible as both kind and vengeful. His vengeance as that of the Sumerian gods was indiscriminate too. From the poem, one can deduce that for the people of Uruk, piety and respect for divinity are not regarded moral obligations rather a mere acknowledgement of divinity and supernatural order of things (Kovacs 98). Death and Afterlife One of the most dominant themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh is that death is inevitable; no one is immortal, not even the king. The theme of death as depicted here leans more towards the spiritual significance of death in which all are equal in death even if they were different in life. From the death of a bird to that of a hero, the state of death equalizes all. What one learns from the Epic of Gilgamesh is that destiny is predetermined. Historians and mythologists use the phrase ‘our fate is sealed’ or ‘destiny is written in the stars.’ The first death significant to this study
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