The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay Examples
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a thrilling story filled with adventure, merry and mirth in equal measure. It begins with the creation of Gilgamesh who is two thirds a god and a third man. He therefore is a king of great strength, wisdom and power apart. He is however ruthless, kills at will and steals the wives of his lords, warriors and any woman he lusts after. Everyone obeys his personal whims and the people of Uruk cry to the gods for help. His heinous acts displease the gods and who in turn send Enkidu, a man of equal measure in strength to counter and distract him. Enkidu is raised by wild Animals and has been helping the wild animals escape a hunter’s traps. Following advice by the hunter’s father, the latter is lured to the dwellings of Humans by a harlot sent by Gilgamesh. Apparently two become great friends after a fight and become companions for a lifetime. The two embark on a journey to fell the great cedars of the forbidden forest under the guard of Humbaba the demon owned by the god Enlil. With help from the sun god Shamash, fighting together they kill the demon using an axe, make a raft and make way out of the forest by river Euphrates. Ishtar lusts after the royally-dressed Gilgamesh who insults her denying her marriage proposal. In pain she speaks to Anu, the father of gods into releasing the Bull of heaven to punish Gilgamesh. Together Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the bull and celebrate. Following a meeting of council of the gods, Enkidu is punished by death. The grieved Gilgamesh wanders in search of the cure for mortality for himself and eternal life to save his friend. Despite restrictions from the man-scorpions, Siduri, by Urshanabi’s help, he crosses the waters of death. Finding Utnapishtim the keeper of eternal life, he is told of how the council of gods long ago had decided wipe out mankind by floods and only Utnapishtim survived and was later awarded with eternity. Given a test to acquire eternal life and failing, Gilgamesh returns to Uruk having accepted he is a mortal after all. The story ends with the death of Gilgamesh after having written his adventures in tablets and hiding it in copper casket (Sparknotes.com, 2015).
Interpretation from the original text is rather difficult. One problem encountered is as a result of linguistic differences. Mesopotamian dialects are rather different from today’s languages like English and therefore any translation/interpretation always loses the original texture, structure and exact wordings. Some parts of the main text sometimes are lost in the process of interpretation
I would recommend the book to fellow historians who are thrilled with any historical finding or text. The richness of history comes with the magic of believing and visualizing that existed in History and having read Greek mythology, the epic of Gilgamesh is another sweet historical text. The public composed of persons of all ages, races and ages will also find the epic interesting and refreshing to read
The rise of Gilgamesh from fear and failure in the face of the monster Humbaba to courage and strength is the climax of the epic. With the help of shamash the sun god who miraculous sends help, Gigamesh picks up his axe and with the thrust of the weapon on Humbaba, victory is won. Enlil even shares out the seven splendours of Humababa with the river, the lions and others.
The original text may have been compiled as a historical document to be passed on from generation to generation to show the origins of a concerned tribe or people. It is important to realize that most historical texts often depict the origins of a particular people in history. For instance the history text on Ramos and Romulus depict the start of Rome/ Rome Empire.
The hero in the story is nonetheless Gilgamesh. Although he is the centrepiece of the puzzle, his role is indispensable in the view of other characters and in plot formation. He is a god and a man, a deity no one else in the story holds. I admire his strength, agility and courage in times of peril. Rather than utterly destroy Enkidu in the initial duel despite his ruthlessness, he lets him live to be his greatest friend. His closeness and friendship to Enkidu is something to be desired and Gilgamesh more than often drew strength and encouragement from his.
As a historical text the books finds great relevance today as it dates back to the Mesopotamian times. The arte facts carved on rock can be found. The excavations of King Ashurbanispal in 669-627 BC literature and other historical items is evidence that the epic of Gilgamesh was actually recorded in history. Delving into the book, the plot depicts that the woman is a pacifying force on man just as in today. It doesn’t matter whether a man is vile and animal-like, a woman can cajole a man into submission and change his tendencies. According to Assyrian International News Agency, This is clearly evident in the advice of the hunter’s father to his son that he may make a request to Gilgamesh to provide a harlot to tame the wild Enkidu. True to his word, after six days and seven nights of sex, Enkidu no longer remembers his earlier inclinations of animals and loses his strength to gallop. Within a matter of time, the strong uncivilized man is tamed into a human being fit to challenge Gilgamesh.
Assyrian International News Agency. The Epic of Gilgamesh. n.d. Web.24 Feb 2015. Pdf
Sparknotes.com. The Epic of Gilgamesh. 2015. Web. 24 Feb.
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