Death In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh struggles to come to terms with death. He goes through many stages of denial before finally realizing that he needs fulfill his life through epic journeys and quests for happiness despite his inevitable death. First, Gilgamesh does not fully understand just how final death is until he witnesses Enkidu's death. Next, he decides that he will just have to find eternal life so that he will never be punished by death. And lastly, Gilgamesh realizes that he will definitely die; he just needs to accept it and create happiness for himself while he has the time. Before Gilgamesh's great friend, Enkidu, died, he told Gilgamesh of his dream of the underworld. Everyone, including great kings, was equally…show more content…
For instance, Gilgamesh comes across Siduri who seems confused that Gilgamesh has grown weary at heart instead of living up to his reputation of fearsome warrior. Gilgamesh tells her he looks the way he does because he is "afraid of death" (102). Siduri goes on to tell Gilgamesh that men are meant to die. However, just as men are born to die, men are also born to make happy lives for themselves and those around him. He should not sulk around because he is afraid of death, he should lead a joyful life because he is alive. However, this is not enough for Gilgamesh who continues his search for eternal…show more content…
Gilgamesh is given more than one chance to become immortal. Yet, despite his reputation for being victorious in all battles, he fails at both opportunities. One could argue that Gilgamesh was not actually so afraid of death but was, perhaps, afraid of living without his friend, Enkidu. Perhaps, he was simply having a hard time coping with Enkidu's shameful death. Perhaps the quest for eternal life was nothing more than a chance to prove that eternal life is unachievable. Therefore, there was no way Gilgamesh could have saved Enkidu. Despite the many options, the Epic suggests that Gilgamesh did truly want to find eternal life. He was terrified of death and sinking to the levels of those who passed before him. He wanted to live forever so that he could truly show the world all the might and power of which he is
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