Essay on The Epic of Gilgamesh

1954 Words 8 Pages
In the ancient Mesopotamian world, the realm of civilization was viewed to be highly illustrious. At the same time, this state of advancement of great antiquity was also an attribute of divinity. The elements of civilization were intimately associated to the highly esteemed divine mediation. Despite the prominent theology culture in The Epic of Gilgamesh, divine intervention is not the only element that could transform the crude heroic figures into sagacious men. Strength and power are definitely not the only possessions that could advance one in life even though they clearly distinguish the heroes from ordinary men. It is rather, more significantly, the process of internalization. No civilization emerges directly and independently – it is …show more content…
Even though the King of Uruk is expected to be highly civilized, ironically he does not appear to be so. Overwhelmed with ego, arrogance and complete misuse of power, Gilgamesh has condemned civilization insofar his existence. He thwarts his humanity by emphasizing his strength and power in order to be more successful, forsaking the well-being of his people. Hearing the laments and cries of the people of Uruk, the gods then create Enkidu as a match for Gilgamesh. For Enkidu is a divine creation, with “[a] virtue in him like the god of war Ninurta, long waved hair of the goddess of corn Nisaba, and body of matted hair like the god of cattle Samuqan” (Sandars 63), one would have expected him to be a lesson to Gilgamesh. However, the creation of Enkidu does not really answer the people’s grieving as an equal who can contend with Gilgamesh together and keep him busy from all his iniquities (Sandars 62). Enkidu can never be Gilgamesh’s match as he is created completely human while Gilgamesh two third divine.
This strategy, in fact, works in a different manner whereby Enkidu teaches Gilgamesh the real significance of being a human. This shows a fascinating twist as Gilgamesh’s intention to “tame” Enkidu by sending him a prostitute instead mirrors his taming by Enkidu. It is because Enkidu’s indulgence in sex with the prostitute “for six days and seven nights” that