Epic of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh is an epic that has been passed down for thousands of years. The epic narrates the legendary deeds of the main character Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is two-thirds immortal and one-third mortal; however, he cannot accept his fate that one day he too will die. The entire epic tells the story of Gilgamesh’s life and searche for immortality. Through his many trials and tribulations, Gilgamesh proves that he has great physical strength. However, throughout the epic Gilgamesh also shows he is emotionally unstable and immature. The author created Gilgamesh with this flaw of immaturity so that he would be a more believable character.
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The depth of Gilgamesh’s physical strength first appears to the reader in the prologue. Gilgamesh is said to be “the man to whom all things are known”. The gods created him with great care giving him beauty and courage. “The great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others, terrifying like a great wild bull”. Furthermore, his beauty and power were like that of no other man. The story begins by stating that Gilgamesh is an overbearing king. He never sleeps due to his over indulgence in life. Gilgamesh keeps the city in disruption involving anyone he pleases in his corrupt demands.
He sleeps with all the virgins before they are married, therefore, making them impure before their husbands have a chance to sleep with them. If Gilgamesh were a mature king, he would see no reason to show he is the most powerful. He would lead his people with only good intentions and rule the land justly. Even though Gilgamesh demonstrates great physical strength in defeating Humbaba and by killing the Bull of Heaven, his emotional strength is put to the test when Enkidu, his companion, dies. Gilgamesh wants everyone and everything to mourn his death. He could not accept Enkidu’s death.
Seven days and seven nights he wept for Enkidu, until the worm fastened on him”. His irrational actions prove Gilgamesh is emotionally unstable and immature. Another example of Gilgamesh’s immaturity is his infatuation with immortality. He abandons his normal way of life, leaves Uruk, and begins a new life as a hunt Finally and most importantly, the main reason that Gilgamesh changes from the beginning of the book is the friendship that he has with Enkidu. Enkidu is made to make Gilgamesh more human. In the first paragraph of the book the gods are angry with Gilgamesh and send down an equal of himself, they send own Enkidu.
After becoming friends, Gilgamesh changes because he has an equal to be with. Enkidu and Gilgamesh become as close as brothers. Because of this, a very arguable point comes up. Was Enkidu and Gilgamesh lovers? The answer is obviously yes. What points in the book show this? They go to sleep holding hands, Gilgamesh loves Enkidu like a women, and Gilgamesh goes almost insane after the death of Enkidu. The point of Enkidu being a lover of Gilgamesh is very important. It allows the reader to understand the reasoning of Gilgamesh changing. There are no changes in Gilgamesh as a person until Enkidu enters the picture.