Compare And Contrast The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh is the first epic poem to be written in ancient West Asia. It was written around the third millennium BCE in Mesopotamia by Sumerian people (Spodek, 127). The epic is based on actual an historical figure, a Sumerian king who reigned the city-state of Uruk around third millennium BCE. Ashurbanipal, the last Neo-Assyrian king who was literate, built a great library in his capital and preserved 20,000 tablets including the earliest complete version of The Epic of Gilgamesh (Spodek, 128). Sumerian attitudes towards gods, friendship, and the story of the great flood are revealed throughout the epic.
Gilgamesh, the king of the city-state Uruk, was born as two-thirds of a god. He, a beautiful and ambitious man, always won wars
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People of Uruk suffered from tyranny and were brutally oppressed. They complained to Aruru, the goddess of creation, that she must make someone stronger than Gilgamesh. Aruru listened and made Enkidu. Enkidu was made of clay and Aruru’s saliva, and had nearly equal power as Gilgamesh. Hairy and brawny, Enkidu lived with animals in the wilderness. Unlike Gilgamesh, Enkidu was the ideal leader. He had good manners, and protected the oppressed people of Uruk from Gilgamesh. The people of Uruk began hailing Enkidu as their hero. However, Enkidu chose friendship over becoming the perfect leader. After Enkidu challenged Gilgamesh to a contest of strength, they became best friends. Enkidu’s friendship makes Gilgamesh calm and helps him to become a better king. Throughout the epic, Gilgamesh and Enkidu kiss and hug each other frequently. After conflicts between the two, they kissed and formed friendship. But Gilgamesh is never seen sleeping with a woman after conflict, and he even rejected Ishtar, the principal goddess of Uruk. “Come, Gilgamesh, be you my bridegroom! Grant me your fruits, O grant me! Be you my husband and I your wife! Let me harness you chariot of lapis and gold, its wheel shall be gold and its horns shall be amber.…show more content…
The flood story is based on the geologic ages identified through scientific understanding of the changing physical features of the earth (Origin myths: The Flood, 37). The period is between about 12,000 and 7000 BCE which was a period of worldwide warming (Origin myths, 37). Changing environmental conditions was common throughout the world. The rainfall and ocean levels rose some 300 feet (Origin myths 37). Some people began to believe their creator was punishing humans who were displeasing, so the Great Flood become part of the origin myth. Around 4000 BCE, environment conditions finally settled into the pattern we see today (Origin myths, 37). In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ea, the cleverest of the gods, warned Utnapishtim that the gods would be sending the great flood to wipe out humankind. Utnapishtim then builds a boat to save as many people as he can and every living creature. After seven days, Utnapishtim released a dove and raven to find dry land. The Great Flood story is very similar all around the world, as we can find similar stories in West Asia, South Asia, and China
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