Forces of Change
The Epic of Gilgamesh embodies the classical style of the tale of a hero. Gilgamesh personifies exactly what it means to be a true hero in an epic. The Gilgamesh that readers know is an awe-inspiring hero, however at the beginning of the epic Gilgamesh is a tyrannical self-indulgent king with overweening pride. In the epic Gilgamesh’s people pray for a better king, “To his stormy heart,let that one be equal, Let them contend with each other, that Uruk may have peace” (102). It is not until the atavistic Enkidu comes into his ...view middle of the document...
It is through Gilgamesh’s experiences and unfeasible beliefs in death that impels him onto a futile quest for immortality. Nevertheless the death of his beloved friend, Enkidu’s brings Gilgahmesh face to face with the inevitability of death and coincidentally humanizes him. Gilgamesh’s impassioned lamentation evokes the extent of his anguish, “I mourn my friend Enkidu, I howl as bitterly as a professional keener” (133). Gilgamesh is filled to the brim with grief and in contrast to his past self he actually abandons glory and power to learn the secret of eternal life. The editor comments on how there are many aspects that ultimately answers Gilgamesh’s question on mortality and it is in the prelude of the epic where it reveals Gilgamesh’s development as a person and leader. It is through Gilgamesh’s misadventures of challenging the gods where he finally discovers the balance between his divine and mortal characteristics.
Puchner, Martin. “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd ed. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. A. NewYork: Norton, 2012. 95-99. Print.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. Trans. Benjamim R. Foster. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3rd ed. Ed. Martin Puchner. Vol. A. New York: Norton, 2012. 99-51. Print.