Epic Of Gilgamesh Research Paper

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The Effect of Civilization on Taoist Beliefs Over thousands of years, the human race has evolved to become more civilized and more interconnected. The general consensus is that this transition from the hunter-gatherer paradigm to a more complex and more interconnected structure has led to a more productive society. This added productivity and development in society is supported in the ancient writings of The Tao Te Ching and The Epic of Gilgamesh, though each text provides a clearly different approach to the argument concerning whether the change has been positive or negative. The Epic of Gilgamesh can be interpreted as evaluating the effectiveness of civilization changing the perspectives on moral values and quality of life through the evolution…show more content…
While Enkidu is born in the Tao, he loses “The Way” once the flaws of society penetrate his being and he only once again embraces the Tao upon death. Gilgamesh, on the other hand, is not born with in the way of the Tao because he was brought up within a civilization, which embodies how humanity had distanced itself from nature and therefore the Tao. Gilgamesh, while not achieving the Tao until later in life, was able to become a sage in life. In his childhood he was most likely taught that knowledge is the key to ruling and that power over citizens must be asserted in order to effectively rule. However, the teachings of Lao-Tzu explicitly states not only that the quest for knowledge is harmful, but that the sage “Leads people away from knowing and wanting,” and “Practices non-action and the natural order is not disrupted.”(Lao-Tzu 1993: 3). As a ruler, Gilgamesh did the opposite he is described as being “A violent flood wave, smashing a stone wall,” and as “tall, magnificent, and the terrible,” (Anonymous 1999: I.34, 37). Gilgamesh only changes his perspective on life as he wanders nature after the death of Enkidu. In my opinion, Gilgamesh’s transformation could be more impactful because he is able to apply the Taoist principles he learned from nature to the way he rules; however, we are left unknowing if he actually applies the…show more content…
Upon the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh begins to revert to the most basic form of humanity as he wanders nature. Gilgamesh himself states that “For his friend Enkidu Gilgamesh did bitterly weep as he wandered the wild.” (Anonymous 1999: IX 1-2). Throughout his adventures in the wild Gilgamesh grows closer to the Tao, but is also depicted as adopting savage practices, such as how “[He] clad himself in their skins, he ate their flesh. Gilgamesh [dug] wells that never existed before, [he] drank the water, as he chased the winds,” after killing a pride of lions (Anonymous 1999: IX. Si i 2’-Si I 4’). It can be argued that this reversion to the most ordinary form possible is what allows Gilgamesh to change his ways. Gilgamesh’s entire life can be applied to Lao Tzu’s belief that even though things grow, we will all revert to our most ordinary form to achieve enlightenment. For Gilgamesh, this wandering in nature is the final step that leads to his eventual enlightenment. (Lao-Tzu 1993:

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