Gilgamesh: An epic struggle with Thanatophobia
Death. Some of us are in denial and some of us accept that dying is just another part of life, but at some point, we will all die. Hopefully we will all live long lives, filled with many adventures, without ever giving too much thought to our own mortality--ever present as it may be. While a generalized fear of death seems to be healthy; perhaps, protecting us from possibly dangerous situations, at one point when does a fear, become a phobia? In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the reader can clearly observe a transition from what would seem to be a healthy fear of death, to an obvious case of Thanatophobia, or an unhealthy fear of death. Throughout the story, it is made clear to us, that both Gilgamesh and Enkidu clearly fear death; however, Gilgamesh's fear, appears to be catapulted to phobic proportions upon Enkidu's untimely death.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu's early exhibitions appear to carelessly stare death in the face; as if, death, were just another opponent that they'd soon conquer. "Here you are, even you, afraid of death, What has become of your bravery's might" (Norton 111)? Gilgamesh almost mocks the fact that, Enkidu, fears the increased risk of death involved with their upcoming conquest in pursuit of the wild beast Humbaba. Gilgamesh then jokes, that if he were to fall to while in combat with the beast, that he'd at least become famous. "If I fall on the way, I'll establish my name: 'Gilgamesh, who joined battle with fierce Humbaba' they'll say" (Norton 111). As we can clearly see, the tone of their conversation is almost playful, but does not discount the sense of fear being emoted. Their interactions, seem to reflect that of someone who has a healthy fear of death. Their adventure has a high level of risk, which would naturally increase the threat of premature death for any mortal; however, Enkidu's fears soon become reality.
Upon their return to Uruk and after they'd slain...
...When it comes to the topic of Gilgamesh rejection towards Ishtar, most people will readily agree that his rejection was due to his feelings of inadequacy towards Ishtar. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of why Gilgamesh feels this inadequacy and how this is a crucial step on his journey to consciousness. Whereas some are convinced this was not a crucial step, but only a supplementary step to the beginning to his consciousness, others maintain that this rejection was the crucial turning point in Gilgamesh’s life and the direct cause to his journey to consciousness. This is where all Gilgamesh journeys began and where they would all bring him back to in the end. It is true that Gilgamesh’s rejection of Ishtar was the first step in his journey to consciousness, because his feeling of vulnerability, he also lost his very close friend Enkidu, which he never experienced before, caused him to seek immorality, although in the end he remained moral.
Gilgamesh was destined to perfection from birth. He was created as a divine mortal, two-thirds god and one third human. He was a man destined to live a lavish life with all the riches a man could ever want. Unfortunately, his arrogance and superior strength got in the way; in the beginning of the book one realizes that Gilgamesh is an arrogant person who needs to make it known he is the strongest, bravest man there could ever be. The...
Gilgamesh and the 21 Century Hero
A hero is someone who tries the best to help everyone and will do everything in his or her power to help out another person. The term hero means different things to different people. Today many people believe that a hero is a person who can accomplish what others cannot or a person who puts themselves on the line for the other people. Men, women and children can all be heroes if they truly feel in their hearts the need to help others in even the smallest ways. In our modern world heroes are defined in so many ways. Anyone can be a hero, a best friend, a devoted mother/father, a teacher, etc. On the other hand, in the older days, before laws and technology, heroes were the men who fought against evil things, who rescue damsels in distress; they were the manly men, the king's knights, god like creatures, brave warriors. As criteria for any epic story a hero must be involved in the story. Furthermore, these heroes had to meet also specific criteria. The definition of an ancient time hero is very different than a hero today yet in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh meets many of the traits in today’s hero.
Gilgamesh, is much like the heroes of today he achieves many acts of skill, which makes him famous and fulfill the requirements todays hero by being consistently relating to a human society and demonstrates immortality, friendship, grief, ect....
The Epic Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known pieces of literature. According to Sumerian tradition, he was an early ruler of the city-state of Uruk. “He is said to be the son of the god Ninsun and a mortal father, however, historians have not obtained clear details on that matter” (McCaughrean, pg.5). It is also unclear whether the King Gilgamesh actually existed, but his story still acted as “instructive text” for the people of Mesopotamia.
The Epic of Gilgamesh opens with a prologue that sets off the story of Gilgamesh’s life. The narrator does not have a name, but he states, “I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh” (Ferry, pg. 61). Gilgamesh is a tyrant and exploits his rights as king. He is also arrogant, spiteful, restless, powerful, impulsive, and does whatever he wants to whomever. For example, “There was no withstanding the aura or power of the Wild Ox Gilgamesh. Neither the father’s son nor the wife of the noble; neither the mother’s daughter nor the warrior’s bride was safe” (Ferry, pg.4).
Gilgamesh is two thirds god and one third man, and he has beauty, strength, and is fearless. Because of these things, he lords it over the people. Some readers may say that Gilgamesh does not change throughout the story, but he does (Celi, pg.2). In the story Gilgamesh gains a...
...Dreams of Gilgamesh
When looking into the meanings of dreams, a variation of things can be found. Most people believe that dreams are a reflection of people’s inner thoughts and feelings. Most of these feelings are too private to be expressed in the real world and that is why they are expressed in a fantasy type way through dreams.
In Gilgamesh, dreams are used as a form of communication between the Gods and humans. Major events are seen through these dreams and fantasies are foretold. In the ancient Mesopotamian culture, dreams play a major role. Dreams foretold the coming of Enkidu, the death of Enkidu, the protection of Shamhat during the battle with Humbaba, and much more. The fact that dreams play such an important role in this story, would lead you to believe that dreams have a significant place in society.
The first mention of dreams in Gilgamesh come with Enkidu and the harlot in the wilderness. The purpose of this scene is to show that dreams tell the future. It is important for Gilgamesh to know that Enkidu is coming because he needs to know that Enkidu is there to bring him no harm. Enkidu was created to be on Gilgamesh’s side, not to challenge him.
In the next scene Gilgamesh has a dream but he did not understand the dream so he asks his mother its meaning. “Mother, I had a dream last night: There were stars of heaven around me, Like the force of heaven, something kept...
... Because this winged man is portrayed as a God, he can live forever without boundaries or conventions. Gilgamesh longs for everything this transcendent hero embodies. Therefore he goes on a long, arduous journey with the hopes of freeing himself from the constraints of mortality and humanity, only to become more like the winged hero from the seal.
In the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is all-powerful and despotic. He is two thirds god and one third human. (Gilgamesh I: 45) He built the great city of Uruk up from nothing, only to rule and exercise his great power unjustly. His mentality, at this stage, parallels the winged hero in the seal. Gilgamesh doesn’t see himself as an ordinary, mortal ruler, rather an extraordinary, boundless king. The people of Uruk represent the lion and the bull from the seal. Though they have strength, they are still fearful and overpowered by this godly hero. However, Gilgamesh’s superiority comes to question when he encounters Endiku. (Gilgamesh II) Endiku proves to be his equivalent in size, beauty, and strength. Though Gilgamesh is more powerful, Endiku shows that Gilgamesh is indeed not the grandest of all. Gilgamesh’s facade of mysticism is doubted for he has an equal on earth. He can no longer be the sole winged hero on the seal. This is his first confrontation of his mortality for he realizes that he is not above humanity....
...understand, and am in compliance with the Academic Honesty policy. In particular, I have not committed any kind of plagiarism. There are no unattributed direct or indirect quotations or paraphrases from printed materials, websites, other students' papers, or any other sources in my essay.
The Battle of Civilization and the Environment
Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh, many heroic battles take place. The story is
encompassed with numerous battles whereGilgamesh and Enkido use their swords, wits and
strength to defeat the enemy. These battles are seen clearly outlined in the story. However, the
most important battle in this story is not so clearly told. This battle occurs inward. This is the
battle between civilization and the environment. This conflict roots from the relationship
between Gilgamesh and Enkido. While Enkidu and Gilgamesh change one another throughout
the story, Enkidu ultimately follows Gilgamesh, and succumbs to civilization, because
civilization cannot grow without the use of natural resources.
King Gilgamesh built the mightiest kingdom in all the land. The Empire thrived and
continued to grow. Gilgamesh prided himself on his creation and strives for greatness. He worked to build his city to grow bigger and stronger. As a passage in the book reads, “He carved on a stone stela all of his toils, and built the wall of Uruk-Haven, the walls the likes of...
...Enkidu and Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh is about a Tyrant, Gilgamesh, who terrorized the people from his kingdom. Enkidu was created to save the people and become a companion to Gilgamesh. From the beginning, a clear and invisible bond is created. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are complete opposites that complement each other; one was an arrogant city dweller, the other a quintessential "Wildman" of the woods and plains.Gilgamesh civilizes Enkidu and Enkidu helps Gilgamesh transform into a perfect leader to his people by allowing him to better understand and identify with them. Through their friendship, Gilgamesh becomes less narcissistic and less lonesome. Gilgamesh was lonely, but did not know the extent of wanting a friend, until the moment he meets Enkidu and then loses him afterwards in the Epic. The turning point of The Epic of Gilgamesh occurs when Enkidu enters Gilgamesh’s life, and then the text takes another turn when Enkidu dies. Enkidu changed Gilgamesh’s life completely, without him, Gilgamesh would not have become a great leader and epic hero. Gilgamesh would not have changed without Enkidu because he did not see a problem with his leadership skills, he had never loved anyone more than himself, and he had not expected death to affect him on a personal level.
Gilgamesh would not have...
... 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 “Gilgamesh” is very familiar content to today’s audience but just about all of the characters in the story are not known by the average modern reader of today unless they have already read the story. This is another result of the time gap in the history of the translation of “Gilgamesh.” Figures from later stories are more popular and well known to people who haven’t even read those stories.
One example of the story of “Gilgamesh” being strange was when Enkidu was created by the gods’ to counter the harsh and egotistical ways of Gilgamesh. This was very strange to me because it was so unexpected. Normally a harsh and brutal king would die violently or be stopped...