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Gilgamesh Flood Comparison Essay

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Comparison and Contrast of Hebrew and Mesopotamian Flood Stories
Both the story of “Noah and the Flood” in the book of Genesis in The Hebrew Bible and the flood story in The Epic of Gilgamesh detail a grand flood in which a man saved life from extinction by building an ark, earning fame and immortality in some form. The theme of completing this grand task for a moral purpose holds true to both stories, but the depiction and actions of the divine and mortal characters in the stories contain different similarities and differences. The theme of virtue and its importance to one’s survival and legacy is prevalent in both the flood story from The Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of “Noah and the Flood.” Each text creates an image of a larger
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Before Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of the flood story, Gilgamesh asks, “You then, how did you join the ranks of the gods and find eternal life?” (Gilgamesh 102) On the other hand, mortal is a very loose term in The Hebrew Bible. Noah is six hundred years old when the story begins. Age doesn’t seem to have an impact on the life and death of mortal characters in the story of Noah, completely opposing the theme of mortality and death that is portrayed through the mortal characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh. While mortal characters contain differences that deal with mortality and age, the depiction of higher power and divine characters come in very different forms, but maintain similar overall behaviors. Due to the similarities in behaviors, the major events are depicted very similar and the outcomes are almost identical. The differences in the stories arise simply because of the context in which each story is written. The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in ancient Mesopotamia where religion was extremely polytheistic. The story in The Hebrew Bible is written with a monotheistic mindset. While these religions are different in terms of the number of gods, there are obvious similarities that arise between the divine figures in each story. The gods in The Epic of Gilgamesh represent different personalities and virtues, but there is
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