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Commentary on Gilgamesh Essay



In the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is a tyrant and exploits his rights as king. Hes arrogant, spiteful, restless, powerful, impulsive, and does whatever he wants to whomever. For instance, Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement; his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children. His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warriors daughter nor the wife of the noble( The Bedford Anthology of World Literature, 63). He 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( The Bedford Anthology of World Literature, 65). From beginning to end his personality does a one hundred eighty degree turn. His looks diminish, he becomes compassionate, and he is very afraid of death. He is no longer that carefree ass he was in the beginning. Once he realizes he is not an immortal god, he becomes a little obsessed with his destiny and eternal life. He has made many journeys that have made him older and wiser. By the end of the epic, Gilgamesh has experienced life, love, death, grief, and despair. Even though he has god in him, in the end, he is still only human. Gilgamesh wants to leave his mark behind and he does. Enlil decrees, Of mankind, all that are known, none will leave a monument for generations to come to compare with his(The Bedford Anthology of World Literature, 90).

Gilgamesh made many changes throughout this epic, but I believe his relationship with Enkidu played the biggest part. He was the one that told Gilgamesh that kingship was his destiny, but immortality was not. This is the start of the crack in Gilgameshs big, strong immortality wall. When Enkidu dies, Gilgameshs human emotions seem to surface. He goes from this big, strong, indestructible, uncaring god to this humble, compassionate, grief-stricken human who weeps for the loss of his friend. The fear of death makes him weary, and the loss of his The Old Men Are Young Again plant puts him in tears and despair. Because of his gained humanity, he died with wisdom, experience, and remembrance, which is all any simple human could ask for.

The transformation of Gilgamesh seems to suggest that the Mesopotamians believed that good triumphs over evil and that there is redemption available to all. The Mesopotamians seemed to be a superstitious people needing to believe in a higher power(s) for comfort and peace of mind regarding things they didnt or couldnt readily understand. Being an enlightened people, they longed for true knowledge but in its absence embraced the unexplainable by virtue of acceptance of the unseen. As evidence by The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Mesopotamians worshipped their own particular gods, not unlike people today, thousands of years later.

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