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The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

1021 words - 4 pages

What kind of character do we know that possesses beauty, strength, and unmatchable potential for greatness, but also who is an autarchic ruler, unexperienced and impetuous? Gilgamesh is who comes to mind. The epic story is about the hero's growth to full maturity, and his quests for immortality. The document that is to be presented begins after a battle with Humbaba of the sacred Forest of Cedar.The Gilgamesh Epic is considered to be one of the oldest epics in the world. It is called an epic because it is really a myth. The epic as such is the creation of the Semitic Babylonians and its first fragments belong to the so-called Old Babylonian period, during the dynasty of Hammurabi, in the first half of the second millennium B.C.E. But this first Old Babylonian version is very fragmentary. Fortunately later copies and further elaborations of these fragments were found in the library of Assurbanipal, the last great Assyrian king, who reigned in the 7th century B.C.E. The latest version is written on twelve clay tablets and is the result of at least 1800 to 2000 years of work on the epic. More fragments have since been discovered which contain valuable additions to the damaged and incomplete text. The original from which the Assyrian version was copied was composed in Old Babylonian times but was based on legends and stories from older Sumerian sources about a real King of the city of Uruk on the Euphrates River. This epic has been said to be the most important literary product of Ancient Mesopotamia.The portion of the epic that I read begins when Enkindu is dreaming. In the dream he was held captive and then transformed into an animal with wings and led to the underworld, where he sees all the kings who have been rulers. Enkindu awakes and begins to lose all his strength. Enkidu makes sure to tell Gilgamesh not to forget about him. Enkidu dies. After Enkidu's funeral, Gilgamesh is overcome with grief, and is afraid of death. Gilgamesh goes on a search for Utanapishtim, the man who posses the secret to immortality. When Gilgamesh found him, Utanapishtim told Gilgamesh that nothing is permanent. Do we build house that stands up forever. Gilgamesh asks Utanapishtim how he came to possesses eternal life, and he responds by telling him the secret of the godsIn the bank of the Euphrates there were many gods they were getting old. The gods decided to destroy all mankind. The god Ea, however, told Uta-napishti of their plans and proposed a way to survive the devastation. Uta-napishti was to build a huge boat and to take on board a specimen of every living thing. In order to explain why the boat was being built, Uta-napishti was to tell the other townspeople that he had been driven from Shuruppak by the god Enlil and was going to live with Ea. The gods, Uta-napishti would tell the people that they were preparing to send the world a rainstorm that would last a long time.Uta-napishti did as he...

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