Essay on Gilgamesh

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Gilgamesh Death in ancient Mesopotamia was something to be dreaded. Nowhere is there mentioned an afterlife condition comparable to our ideas of heaven. Their netherworld, endured by all, must have been the prototype of our idea of hell. It’s a place wherein souls “are bereft of light, clay their food” and “dirt is their drink.” They are ruled over by the harrowing figure of Ereshkigal, forever rending her clothes and clawing her flesh in mourning over her endless miscarriages. These unpleasant descriptions are a natural reaction to the experience of burial, being trapped within the earth where no light can reach and nothing can grow. In Gilgamesh, Enkidu bewails his fate “to sit with the ghosts of the dead.” This envokes…show more content…
The wings are a mockery of their condition. They, who in life surely looked enviously upon the birds in the sky, have in death been given wings, and have nowhere to fly to. Today we speak of angels, up in heaven, getting their wings, but the imagery here is better suited to Dante’s Inferno. Dirt for water, clay for food. Sounds pretty dismal, but there may be reason to believe you wouldn’t want the food down there. Those who are sent on an errand to the netherworld are cautioned not to partake of any water or food offerred them. In Inanna’s Descent Enki fashions an elegist and myrmidon out of the dirt beneath his fingernails, appropriately for their task is to the netherworld. Enki warns these two that, “They will offer you the river at its high water, may you not except it. They will offer you the field when in grain, may you not except it.” Perhaps by refusing the water and grain they are mimicking death? More likely, the food and water of the netherworld are poisonous to mankind. When Inanna is subdued in Inanna’s Descent, she is transformed into a “slab of tainted meat.” Important here is the reference to butchering. Inanna is not just reduced to a rotting corpse, but a slab of meat as it would have been portioned off for human

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