A book review of The Epic of Gilgamesh
Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh. London: Profile, 2004. Print.
This ancient epic is brought back to life by Stephen Mitchell whom is known for doing such to ancient literature. The book is translated using many scholarly works, which Mitchell has used resourcefully during his translation. Mitchell with little no knowledge of akkadian language creates a very captivating way of telling this poem of love, tragedy, and profound wisdom.
The epic of Gilgamesh is the story of a tyrant king, who is unmatched in strength and power. The king is feared by his people, whom ultimately through their prayers bring forth a man who is an equal to Gilgamesh, Enkidu. Enkidu is created by the gods to bring balance to Gilgamesh’s life. The two men became close friends after a test of strength is met upon meeting for the first time, they both realize they were meant for one another. The men spending much time together set off on a quest to destroy a monster named Humbaba, which they succeed. Upon them returning to Uruk, the goddess Ishtar becomes lustful towards Gilgamesh, but something has changed the king and he shun’s her. The goddess becomes rageful seeking out vengeance for the disrespect Gilgamesh has shown her, she asks her father Anu, the god of the sky to strike them down. A great bull comes from the sky bringing with it seven years of famine, but the two men are able to destroy the bull restoring everything as it was before. The gods decide that one of the two men must be punished for what they have done, Enkidu is cursed and dies. This has a huge impact on Gilgamesh and ultimately breaks his heart, so leaving behind his kingdom he travels seeking out answers to his questions. Gilgamesh has knowledge of a man who has escaped death seeks to...