Examples Of Gilgamesh's Quest

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“Gilgamesh – An Imperfect Quest to Become a Revered Hero” In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, undertakes a quest to become the ultimate hero, a perpetual legend to his people and superior to the gods. Gilgamesh initially defines superiority by physical feats and conquests. When he finds that the gods can undermine his personal power by causing him tragedy and elucidating his eventual death, Gilgamesh, out of fear, shifts his quest to the achievement of immortality. He fails in his effort to achieve eternal life as well. Gilgamesh does not accomplish his quest to become a hero by his initial definition, physical prowess, and physical immortality. Instead, through great suffering, grief, and disappointment, Gilgamesh recognizes…show more content…
Surprisingly, Gilgamesh is scared, and almost reluctant to fight when he first sees Humbaba. Humbaba “nodded his head and shook it, menacing Gilgamesh; and on him he fastened his eye, the eye of death. Then Gilgamesh called to Shamash and his tears were flowing” (20). Gilgamesh needs help to defeat Humbaba, but his arrogance keeps him from becoming self-aware of his weakness. Gilgamesh and Enkidu ruthlessly triumph over Humbaba and in their celebration. They viciously murder Humbaba even after he pleads for mercy. To add to their treachery, they mock the gods by laying Humbaba’s head before Enlil, the god who created Humbaba. Here is another sign that physical feats, especially the savagery of the deed, will not define Gilgamesh as a hero. In fact, he appears more as a murderer than a great leader. The two are scolded by Enlil, who is mortified that Humbaba has been killed and in the manner that it happened. “Enlil raged at them. Why did you do this thing? From henceforth may the fire be on your faces” (22). Regardless, the two continue to celebrate, immaturely throwing their braggadocio in the gods’ faces. “O Gilgamesh, king and conqueror of the dreadful blaze… glory to him and from the brave the greater glory is Enki’s” (22)! Gilgamesh’s behavior is not one of a
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