Gilgamesh: A Man's Conflict Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

Gilgamesh was a man with different entities, a man who can’t be described by just one word. He in fact can be described by many; he was a man, a king, and a hero. Gilgamesh’s different identities caused him to live a conflicting life of finding who he really was.
A Man: Gilgamesh was a mortal man. A regular man who yes was strong, courageous, and just about unstoppable, but nonetheless he was a man. He had the desires of Man, he lusted after women, he arrogantly proved his strength and as a Man he allowed for his heart to be broken. Gilgamesh used his strength, his knowledge and being to prove to all of Uruk that he was the best. It was declared throughout Uruk that “[Gilgamesh’s] arrogance ha[d] no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father; for Gilgamesh takes them all…His lust leaves no virgin to her lover” (Norton pg. 13). Gilgamesh’s arrogance led for the people of Uruk to beg to the gods to send a counterpart of Gilgamesh, someone who would defeat Gilgamesh the unbeatable. The reader quickly learns that Gilgamesh isn’t defeated but instead acquires a new companion and a new sidekick, Enkidu. His new companion quickly emerged into a brotherly love that had no bounds. They showed affection towards one another and they laid hand and hand together as they slept. They went on great adventures together, and sought to prove to the world that they were the best together. Gilgamesh and Enkidu attempt to achieve valiance and immortality by defeating the toughest of the tough. They decide that they will kill and defeat Humbaba. It was Gilgamesh’s belief that the “accomplishment of great acts of valor… is the highest achievement of life and one that serves as the basis of lasting fame, and fame in the form of stories of one’s great deeds that are told and retold by future generations” (Abusch). But when Enkidu was chosen to pay the price for these brothers actions Gilgamesh became heartbroken; he lost a friend because of his selfish-man desires. “Gilgamesh feels the guilt of a survivor somehow responsible for his friend’s death” (Keenan). The main conflict that Gilgamesh had wasn’t that he lost his friend, that he wasn’t immortal or that he died in the end, the greatest conflict that Gilgamesh had was that he was a man. He was a man who couldn’t avoid making mistakes, a man who couldn’t avoid his “flesh”. He was a man with his own wants and desires that affected the way he lived with his other identities.
A King: Gilgamesh ruled over all of Uruk, he had all the power the land could give him. He had the prestige and even people who honored him. But because Gilgamesh was more of a Man than of a King he started his rule horribly. The people of the land did what we call today, impeachment, they cried to the gods to smite him for his bad behavior. Gilgamesh’s flock questioned his shepherding (Norton pg 13). They felt as if they had the wrong King who didn’t respect the well being of the people. Gilgamesh allowed for his own Man-desires to...

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