The search for immortality seems to be an obsession for many men and women all throughout history. In the Epic of Gilgamesh a man investigates the possibility of immortality following the saddening death of his friend, his brother Enkidu. That man, Gilgamesh, feeling the fear of the possibility of his own mortality which was before unrealized before the death of Enkidu, searches for a way to preserve himself.
Is it truly that Gilgamesh searches for a physical immortality or more of a spiritual immortality? Gilgamesh wishes to give the flower of immortality to the elders of the city to rejuvenate them and return the youth to the kingdom of Uruk. This show of selflessness and concern for his people is a sight that might not have been seen a short while before his meeting with Enkidu and his influence on Gilgamesh which changed his view of life. Gilgamesh clearly tries in the end to restore the youth to the elders for the purpose of keeping the memory of not only himself but also Enkidu alive. As long as your culture and relatives survive so do you. Every relative has a piece of you carried along with them.
Why didn’t Gilgamesh just eat the plant and live as an immortal? Perhaps it was because if he were to eat the plant he would become a lonely king who just would become more and more saddened by his people whom he loved die over and over again and only he would remain. His close friend, Enkidu, was gone. His father warnied him of the loneliness – perhaps this convinced Gilgamesh of his course of action.
Gilgamesh has been through many adventures and he gained wisdom to go along with his god like physical powers. Gilgamesh learns that the greatest type of immortality is the noncorporeal. The worth of a man’s life is many times said to be measured by the things he has done and the legacy that he has left behind. After realizing that he was not a god-man, Gilgamesh understood that the real glory is in the deeds you have done and the people you have affected in good ways over your life.
Many ancient peoples had stories with morals to them. The Epic of Gilgamesh clearly promotes the moral feelings of the time.
Epic of Gilgamesh Essay – The Ever-Changing Gilgamesh
The Ever-Changing Gilgamesh
The main character in the book The Epic of Gilgamesh, is Gilgamesh himself. In the beginning of the book one realizes that Gilgamesh is an arrogant person. Gilgamesh is full of himself and abuses his rights as king. He has sexual intercourse with the virgins of his town and acts as though he is a god. Throughout the story, many things cause Gilgamesh to change. He gains a friend, he makes a name for himself by killing Humbaba, and he tries to become immortal because of the death of Enkidu. Through these main actions his personality changes and he becomes a better person.
The quest for immortality after the death of Enkidu is the first sign that Gilgamesh has changed. Gilgamesh becomes frightened when he realizes that he isn’t immortal. After the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh tries to find immortality by trying to cross the ocean to find it. He sounds pathetic as he rambles of his reason for trying to find everlasting life. His state of being at this part in the book, which is the end, is completely different from his arrogant beginning of this epic. Gilgamesh has gone from arrogant to scared.
The death of Humbaba also changes Gilgamesh. Humbaba is evil. Many people who live in the city of Uruk fear Gilgamesh. Most would say that Gilgamesh himself is, in fact, evil. He has sex with the virgins, he does what he wants, and he tends to offend the gods. He has lots of problems with Ishtar. By going into the forest and facing Humbaba, Gilgamesh makes a name for himself and changes the views of the people in his city. This is a very arguable point. The great deed of killing Humbaba, makes him a better person because he protects his city. Although it could be argued that Gilgamesh kills Humbaba only to make a name for himself, this not the case. Gilgamesh does this because of his love for Enkidu and his people, he has changed from the beginning of the epic.
The main factor contributing to the changes in Gilgamesh the love that develops 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 down Enkidu. After becoming friends, Gilgamesh changes because he has an equal to be with.