People have been fascinated by tales of heroism for centuries. In ancient Mesopotamia, heroes give people hope and comfort, and fill them with strength. Ancient Mesopotamia is filled with tales of heroes- mighty warriors battling monsters, men ready to risk life and limb to save their true love or to fight for their nation. Still, there is a great difficulty that lies in defining what a hero truly is. Strength alone does not make a hero; nor does intelligence. Moreover, the Epic of Gilgamesh truly defines the definition of a hero. Gilgamesh is portrayed as a true hero through his skill, intelligence, willingness to die, reverence, and his respect for death.
One of the most fascinating pieces of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, deals with and explores many of the problems humans have wrestled with for thousands of years. Even though the text does not explicitly answer any of the questions it poses, it gives clues that point to the answers. One of these questions, the dilemma of whether to act based solely on a person’s intuition or act based on reason and advice, occurs regularly in the text. Throughout The Epic of Gilgamesh, characters have success and failure when they act based on either their intuition or using reason, but the epic clearly points out, through examples, that acting based on reason instead of intuition constitutes more success in all facets of life.
Because of his pride, he does not listen, which is one of his biggest flaws in the story. Furthermore, you can see Gilgamesh’s perseverance when he finds out that the outcome of his journey is not favorable, but he still continues to go after praying to Shamash (26). This shows that he would always continue with what he started and that he was not one to give up on what he says he is going to do. His loyalty to his friend, Enkidu, is also very obvious, especially after Enkidu passed away, when Gilgamesh “Slaughtered fatted [cattle] and sheep, heaped them high for his friend” (62). This shows that Gilgamesh really enjoyed and appreciated Enkidu as a friend, and even after his death, he did everything possible to make sure that he was recognized and respected. But, after his death, Gilgamesh still showed his flaw of being self-righteous because he felt that he deserved eternal life because he was part god. For instance, he stated, “Enkidu, my friend whom I loved, is turned into clay! Shall I too not lie down like him, and never get up forever and ever?” (78). The idea of death really hit him after Enkidu because he realized that death is inevitable, no matter how prideful you are or how much you achieve, it is still going to happen. Gilgamesh definitely had too many heroic qualities that were
The story of “Gilgamesh” depicts all of the heroic triumphs and heart-breaking pitfalls a heroic narrative should depict to be able to relate to today’s audience. However, “Gilgamesh” was once considered a lost and forgotten piece of literature for thousands of years, so there is a tremendous gap between the time it was created and the time it was translated into language that today’s audience can understand. That gap in history makes several aspects of the story of “Gilgamesh” strange and unfamiliar because what we now know about ancient Middle Eastern cultures and languages is a lot less than what we know about the cultures that prospered after ancient Middle Eastern cultures. Much of the content in the story of
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a tale from ancient Babylon. Its hero, Gilgamesh the king of Uruk, is two-thirds god and one-third man. Throughout the epic, which consists of three stories, the character of Gilgamesh is developed. This is accomplished by changing the vices he possesses at the start of the epic, and replacing them with virtues he receives by its completion. “A virtue is a quality of righteousness, goodness, or moral excellence; any good quality or admirable trait of a character.” (Halsey Collier’s Dictionary 1114) “A vice is an immoral or harmful habit or practice; fault or fall” (Halsey Collier’s Dictionary 1111). Gilgamesh is not the only character in the
In the “Epic of Gilgamesh” translated by N.K. Sanders, Gilgamesh completes a series of many challenges and obstacles, fulfilling the conditions of an archetypal quest story. In order to fulfill an archetypal quest story, the hero or protagonist must complete a series of hurdles, on their way toward achieving their goal. In the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, Gilgamesh hunts for his main obsession, immortality, while he battles off monsters, with the help of some friends. Sensing Gilgamesh embraces too much power, the gods create a friend for Gilgamesh named Enkidu in the hopes of lessening Gilgamesh’s power. Enkidu and Gilgamesh turn out to be best friends after Enkidu loses a wrestling match
The maturation of Gilgamesh and his desire to acquire wisdom throughout his journey is quite apparent. By overcoming difficulties such as upholding Uruk, becoming friends with Enkidu, and various other scenarios, Gilgamesh proves that he did in fact grow up throughout the epic.
Gilgamesh, written by David Ferry, illustrates a story about a man who knows everything, but continues to try and learn more. Although Gilgamesh may be arrogant, he still remains a great ruler and commander of Uruk. Throughout the book, the adventures of Gilgamesh fit Joseph Campbell’s idea of the hero’s journey. After analyzing the pieces to the hero’s journey, Gilgamesh is proven to be a true hero because his journey parallels that of the hero’s journey described by Campbell. The latter part of this paper will prove Gilgamesh is a hero using Campbell’s model, by analyzing the pieces of the hero’s journey: separation or departure, the initiation, and the return.
(Gilgamesh 71)” Gilgamesh's grief for his friend was natural, but he shouldn't have abandoned his people and his royal duties. As ruler, his people have to follow his decree, and need his support to thrive. By forcing them to grief, and abandoning his position, he left them in a very vulnerable position. His last and final abandonment of his people began with Gilgamesh's quest for immortality. He was so upset and shocked by what occurred to Enkidu's body after death, that he vowed he would never die. His selfishness has grown so far, that when he finds his cure for mortality, he chooses to let an old man test the plant in case it brings death instead. “I will bring it to Uruk-Haven, and have an old man eat the plant to test it. The plant's name is “The Old Man Becomes a Young Man.” Then I will eat it and return to the condition of my youth. (Gilgamesh 106)” Gilgamesh was a powerful man with a lot of ambition, and potential. It was just ruined by his selfish nature. He was, all-in-all, a famous and great ruler... but not a just one.
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.
Further analysis of the poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, described the characteristic of king Gilgamesh from the beginning, middle, and end. Throughout the poem, there are immature and petrified moments of Gilgamesh, but more importantly he learned to grow as he explore his journey. Friendship, love, and fear appears to be essential in this poem. Why are those terms relevant ? and how does it connect with the trait of Gilgamesh ?, let’s continue to find out the truth about Gilgamesh.
So the plan was effective Gilgamesh knew that Enkidu would be there at that time. So when Enkidu fought with Gilgamesh, he showed Gilgamesh how strong he was. And even with Enkidu being the one who lost and Gilgamesh the one that won, Gilgamesh was able to test his courage and strength by fighting him. He knew that if he won that time, he probably wouldn’t win the next time and he would have a very powerful person who can take everything from him especially fame. Therefore, he decided to be a friend of him, while still keeping him slightly below him as his subordinate. He could turn off the rise of Enkidu’s fame by putting him under his shadow, and he could use his strength, wildness and kind heart in more dangerous tasks that would give Gilgamesh more fame and make him into a hero that people would love and talk about forever making his name rise. Becoming Enkidu’s friend was a very wise choice, and would only benefit Gilgamesh to make his name lasting and in the mind of people.
In the story The Adventures of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh and Enkidu started as enemies. Enkidu was sent out to defeat Gilgamesh for his rampaging. When Enkidu was about to finish Gilgamesh in a battle he realized something. According to the story, “Gilgamesh,” said he, “you have proved full well that you are the child of a goddess and that heaven itself has set you on your throne. I shall no longer oppose you. Let us be friends.” This example shows the beginning of their friendship. Gilgamesh grew to be very compassionate about his friend. This is another characteristic of a Babylonian hero. He showed compassion when Enkidu was growing weaker and weaker. “For nine days Enkidu languished upon his bed, growing weaker and weaker, while Gilgamesh watched beside him, torn with grief’ (Gaster 119). This also shows he had a great deal of empathy. This is another emotion a Babylonian hero should feel. Also as a good companion to Enkidu he also felt sympathy for him. He felt sorry for the bad fate the gods have punished him with. “Now,” said Gilgamesh, “I have seen the face of death and am sore afraid One day I too shall be like Enkidu” (Gaster 119). This shows he was very saddened about what
The first known documented story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is also the first example of exploratory philosophy in that the tragic hero, Gilgamesh, embarks on an existential journey only to find that life, as a concept, is not only fleeting, but also uncertain. The physical journey of Gilgamesh ends in the realization that he belongs where his journey began. Such is the case of his philosophical journey, as his realization of life is that it is circular. The decision to frame the story so that the ending reflects the beginning illustrates that Gilgamesh realizes that, to live fully, one must live simply. Such is the philosophy of a child - the beginning stage of life. Gilgamesh’s story reflects that of man’s exploration of identity. As people,
Power tends to take on different forms in every culture and society, and has taken on these different forms all throughout the history of mankind. Power can come in the form of wealth, position, strength, land, or success, and it all depends on where you are in the world and during what time period you are there. No matter what sense of power one might be referring to, some say that the acquisition of power corrupts one’s character and being. In 1887, John Emerich Dalberg Action made a powerful statement: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. While some may argue otherwise, I agree whole heartedly with Action. Corruption from one gaining or having power can be seen in ancient literature and through the observation of today’s world leaders and public figures. Whether it is in the fictional world of the past, or in the reality of the present, there is strong evidence that supports Action’s statement that power corrupts those who obtain it.