Many modern day students know the story about Gilgamesh but the question is do they know everything? Many students –including me- did not know that he had an almost brother like guardian named Enkidu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu had many similarities and differences because no two people are alike. As they go through their journey they learn about themselves and each other.
Gilgamesh is the main character throughout this entire piece of poetry. It is repeatedly said that he is two-thirds God and a third of man. This does not mean that he is excluded from all hurt, harm, or danger but he does have powers that no mortal has. Gilgamesh has superhuman strength, bravery, leadership, and courage. He has the kind of courage that would almost be considered bragging. These are the characteristics of a leader and that was exactly what he was a king of Uruk. This ancient city between 2150-1400 BCE was one of the most important cities of Mesopotamia (Sumer and later Babylonia areas). It is seen that Gilgamesh has courage after Enkidu dies. After his death he shows him true self that he has been holding back for so long. He shows that he can feel hurt, pain, and sadness. Gilgamesh travels through the Earth and puts himself in harm's way to find a way to bring his “brother” back and to find immortality. It can be told this is courageous in the way that he travels through the Earth because no man can cut three hundred trees to make his way to find immortality.
Gilgamesh also possesses the power of bravery. After meeting Enkidu, Gilgamesh said, “Now we must travel to the Cedar Forest, where the fierce monster Humbaba lives. We must kill him and drive out evil from the world”(Page 91). After Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close acquaintances it seems that Gilgamesh is ready to take on his mission, to get rid of all evil from the world because when a person has a close friend they feel like it is possible to accomplish everything and anything. Humbaba is Gilgamesh’s first major challenge. He fought Humbaba who was not a bad person at all (very innocent) he just was doing his job by protecting the forest. He also fought the Bull of heaven. Ishtar (goddess of fertility, love, war, sex, and power) wants to marry Gilgamesh saying, “I will give you abundance beyond your dreams…gorgeous servants with blue-green eyes, a chariot of lapis lazuli with golden wheels…high priests will bow down and kiss your feet” (page 131). Gilgamesh replies by saying, “your price is too high, such riches are far beyond my means” (page 132). The reason Gilgamesh rejects Ishtar is because she has married many men before Gilgamesh and she grows bored of them fast and makes them “disappear”. Gilgamesh reminds Ishtar about what she has done to her past husbands. She does not like the rejection so she persuades her father Anu (Sky God) to send the Bull of Heaven to Earth to destroy the crops and kill people. He is strong and brave enough to stand up battle and defeat them both. Gilgamesh was the type of character who fought with no mercy, he seemed like he had no fear whatsoever. In the end of this Piece of poetry Gilgamesh teaches that even though man is faced with a challenge or trial in life with a certain situation if it is in the idea of reality it can work to change the outcome for good. If Gilgamesh had never of met Enkidu he would have continued to be just as arrogant as he was in the beginning of the piece; and that is what makes Enkidu a hero.
Enkidu was raised by animals. After he comes to a more civilized world, he still keeps many of his wild characteristics. Enkidu looks much like Gilgamesh and then by the end of the story Gilgamesh ends up looking like Enkidu. The Gods then punish Gilgamesh and Enkidu by giving Enkidu a slow, painful, humiliating death for killing the demon Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven.
As For Enkidu, Aruru, the goddess of creation, made him out of clay and saliva. He was made by the goddess to rid Gilgamesh of his arrogance; he balances out Gilgamesh; In the way that Gilgamesh is harsh much more straight forward ready to kill, While Enkidu is able to talk about the situation and use his intelligence to correct his wrongs. He is Half-man and half-beast. He faces an early death from the Gods for all the trouble (killing innocent people trying to “rid the world of evil”) he and Gilgamesh got into together. In this piece of poetry he is a wild man, raised by animals and ignorant of human society until he meets Shamhat who tames the wild man. She is a sacred prostitute for lack of better terms. The way she makes Enkidu become human is she seduces him to have sex with her for six days and seven nights. As he is becoming human he is noticing that when he goes back into the wilderness he cannot do what he was able to do weeks or even days ago. He is destined to become Gilgamesh’s rival in strength but instead becomes a brother to Gilgamesh. Enkidu shows mercy and humility, courage and nobility.
In the story Gilgamesh is known to be a tyrant king who wants things only for himself this is until he meets Enkidu and then they become friend. When they finally became friends Enkidu turns their friendship into something more than that; he turns Gilgamesh into a down to earth king who then becomes a hero that will be remembered.
This also worked the same way for Enkidu, because Gilgamesh helps move past his fears of wanting to live forever. The love that these two have for each other aids Gilgamesh into becoming a better king toward his people. He becomes a better leader to his people by being able to identify with them. The way it is seen through my eyes is that friendship and understanding is not a part of life but it is a necessary component to give life a meaning.
After reading about Gilgamesh and Enkidu friendship I see that friendship comes in all shapes and forms no matter if you are from royalty and have connections with the all highest power. I have also learned that friends will always have there good times and bad times. What can be learned from this story is that Death is unavoidable and unexpected and it is and always will be a fact of human life.
The men in this story can connect to our lives in the way we live. The way they connect their worlds, which are completely different places as to where they come from. You have a man who comes from royalty who has connections to the Gods and wants to be known forever by living forever. Also that knowledge and kindness are greater achievements to immortality.
I feel That the story of Gilgamesh was a story that I may not have liked but it was the story that I needed to read. because in the end it is learned or taught that friendship overcomes all obstacles .
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