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Essay on the Theme of the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'

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The Epic of Gilgamesh is recited through the literacy mechanisms of poems that survived from Sumerian Literature, as further enlightening how ancient times contended and how ancient people lived reflected on moments that revolved around key components: death, life, and what is life beyond death, relying on how someone conjured these stages of life, whiles evolving as an individual in ways that can be seen positive or negative character development growth. Simply say that this story as an adventure of two males striving on a journey of strengths, or a coming-of-age story of a man named Gilgamesh striving to reach the ultimate power, then that is leaving out themes and concepts that can help illustrate a better overview of what makes this story, much more than that, more epic.

This review does not want to dwell on giving a reader that has never given this story a chance, all the spoilers and tales that would derail them from giving this story a chance. Everyone can learn and appreciate the struggle of survival of wanting to be the best, and fearing the ultimate failure of not being the best, because of the failure of trying. One can see that Gilgamesh was blinded by this narcissistic struggle within himself to be the ultimate warrior amongst the common people and the gods. The tale of Gilgamesh focuses on a king of ancient Mesopotamia who, to some was a cruel and unfair ruler. To that defense was the cry of people within, asking for justice from their gods, as the second character of the story is created immortal Enkidu. These individuals will continue adventures that will attest to their strengths as individuals, but also together, forming a friendship, even though at the beginning were seen as rivals. One might go further into interpreting that it was along these adventures that Gilgamesh found that this obsession of being greater than the gods, as less important as living in the now. Gilgamesh is facing life struggles that can be compared to what any person in today's time fears, fear of failure, self-entitlement, and even death. In death, most life experiences and moments so far give a preview to what the ultimate plan is once death is near or is happening, that no one can truly escape his or her own death. Gilgamesh witnesses death closer to home, and finds that even though someone might have been an ordinary and guiltless citizen, death is the ultimate equalizer in a sense because whoever was once good or bad, everyone dies.

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Gilgamesh goes through personal growth and this acceptance of his mortality, which hold central themes to this story. Gilgamesh understands that fighting powerful beings and gods, and witnessing death, resulting in this rude awakening of self is much greater than living forever. This portrayal of Gilgamesh from the beginning of the story as an arrogant king from Uruk, to someone that has finally absorbed through ‘actual’ life-changing moments how to be a good subject to his subjects, drastically changes his views of just the simplest life pleasures. Gilgamesh established himself as being the best of the best because of fights with Humbaba and having the goddess of desire Ishtar feels as if he was the ultimate husband prize. This story alone has many elements that stories through history could have taken pieces to construct their own, of a man’s existential crisis about life and death, but also this search of immortality. Yet, those are not the only elements that can be picked put alone, this value of friendship, this bond that Gilgamesh and Enkidu established not so much as a need for some kind of friendship, but falls into, maybe circumstantial of the events that took place or despite where they would be, everyone always needs someone to be there for them. Human beings have the need to be needed by someone, whether they are liked by someone or not, but to have someone to speak to, or to rely on. This human connection that is established between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, gives this underline understanding that each may not like the other, but at these moments in time, we are all we have. Gilgamesh gains this understanding from this friendship from Enkidu that someone need not fear you, to want the best for you. Gilgamesh’s growth happens because after everything is said and done, lives surrounded around people that actually want to be there unlike those that live in fear, and are not really living life to the fullness.

Gilgamesh goes through his trials and tribulations, Gilgamesh’s progression of being seen as privileged, futile, and conceited, that believed that the world revolved around him, to meet his match with Enkidu, he absorbed and flourish alongside him. There are moments that shape our consciousness because of our experiences and what we witness, but along the way, Gilgamesh, for instance, learns that everything does come to end and that you cannot run from life forever, immortality. But, what Gilgamesh does not see right away is that just because we die, does not mean that our lives are forgotten, that what we did in life be for nothing. That the whole point in life is to live it, not to live in fear of what might be or never be. Gilgamesh is the person most individuals that walk this earth, living in the fear of never acquiring their goals, failure, striving to reach their ultimate potential, but never enjoying what is now. If all were as forgotten as Gilgamesh thought to be, would anyone today know the story of the Epic of Gilgamesh? These poems have been translated across languages and through generations for a reason, not simply the obvious for the currency, but because Gilgamesh holds relevance in today's society. Maybe Gilgamesh's journey to acquire immortality could have been reached or not, but immortality can be seen as a testament in the writings of these poems, as these poems are still talked about today.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story that is older than three thousand years old and has survived because of the relevance themes that are seen throughout the writings. Themes of personal growth through trials and experiences, the value of life, and the value of friendship, are themes that are seen in the stories of today and even movie plots, giving significance that maybe people that lived during these ancient times were truly ahead of their time. Throughout history, there are themes and concepts that can be seen and repeated with different characters to fit certain situations, but nonetheless, there are moments that are greater than the perception that one might think. Maybe, Gilgamesh simply never realized that striving for the greatest over the will of others is not everything. There has to be a point as to why after so much time anyone is still reading this, there much be some empathy felt for King Gilgamesh as someone goes as far as the ends of the earth to escape their own mortality while wanting to be remembered by others. On recommend these poem passages to anyone for the simplest truth as a peek in the past and maybe, somewhere foreign as how society was in the past, yet familiar. In Gilgamesh’s life, he might have believed that becoming greater than the gods and having everyone under his rule as having the perfect fit for the great life, but contrary to his belief, he lived in fear of not being the best, and that is not what actually matters, being yourself despite the tribulations that one is faced with, makes the journey to finding oneself, the actual bliss to life. That could be the moral of the story, that life is precious and should not be feared as all life is trying to do is have individuals inspire all elements of their own lives into something that makes it worth life living for.

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Essay on the Theme of the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Mar 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-the-theme-of-the-epic-of-gilgamesh/
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