Gilgamesh Never Ending Analysis

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The Never-ending Chase of a Never-ending Life Since the dawn of man, mankind has been intrigued by achieving a never-ending youthful life. The phenomenon of immortality can be observed in various forms of literature, as well as in mythology and myths, which have led both real and fictional characters to pursue the temptation of living forever. The ancient epos of Gilgamesh is not only the first known literary work in history, but also is the start of depicting the quest for immortality, befitting only immortal gods. According to the Sumerian/Babylonian creation story, Enuma Elish, the many polytheistic gods were created when the two origin gods, Apsu and Tiamat, mingled their respective salt and fresh waters together (Enuma Elish…show more content…
The fact that Enkidu is being subjected to perish in a bedridden state further emphasizes how powerless individuals are in their mortality, as death is unavoidable and often times undignified. Here the poem manifests the true meaning to being a product of the gods and Gilgamesh comes to terms with his own mortality, although being part god, “Shall I not die too? Am I not like Enkidu?” (134). Along with Gilgamesh’s realization that his own deadly fate awaits him he begins to fear death. In an attempt to change his destined course, he decides to look for answers on how to evade mortality. In his search Gilgamesh is faced with several trials which manifest in both passing through the sun’s tunnel guarded by the scorpion monsters and crossing the waters of death with the ferryman Ur-Shanabi. The two trials are both challenging and can be interpreted as passing into the netherworld which creates a great deal of irony and a paradox; for Gilgamesh to gain the secrets to immortality, he first needs to…show more content…
In Gilgamesh’s quest for the literal mortality, however, many characters along his path raised their concerns for what immortality and its consequences in reality signifies. Both Siduri and Utanapishtim warn Gilgamesh that being too focused on the alluding desire for immortality is not all it seems to be and question his decision to pursue it while wasting his mortal existence on a futile hunt for something that is unattainable. As Gilgamesh returns empty-handed to Uruk he marvels on the wonders of his city where he is ruler and king. Through his accomplishments in architecture, culture, and literature Gilgamesh will come close to achieve the initial and figurative immortality that he sought in the beginning of epos. To be remembered beyond one’s own lifetime as a type of immortality was likely the second best realistic alternative for the epic hero as Rachel Galvin describes in her article
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