Death and Immortality in "The Epic of Gilgamesh" Analytical Essay by Master Researcher

Death and Immortality in "The Epic of Gilgamesh"
A discussion on Gilgamesh's search for immortality in "The Epic of Gilgamesh".
# 33077 | 650 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Sep 21, 2003 in English (Analysis) , Literature (General)

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This paper examines Gilgamesh's fear of death and subsequent search for immortality in "The Epic of Gilgamesh". The paper discusses how many of his actions can be seen as an attempt to thwart or overcome death, and many of his statements suggest a deep fear of his death. The paper goes on to discuss how his early destructive behaviors suggest an insecurity and even a rebelliousness against his own immorality. The paper also discusses how even at the end of his journey, Gilgamesh seeks reassurance that he will not be forgotten after his death, suggesting that this is one of his key concerns about death. However, the paper points out that he seems partially consoled by the fact that Uruk will remember him.

From the Paper:

"The reader's first impression of Gilgamesh is that he is a destructive king. He fights the people of Uruk and uses his right to enter the bride chamber to satisfies his lusts. His early actions indicate a desire to rebel against death. In killing others, Gilgamesh may be rebelling against death. That is, by killing someone, he hopes hat they will be unable to kill him. In his physical and sexual aggression, Gilgamesh may be attempting to assert his potence and thus his strong life. When Gilgamesh befriends Enkidu, he becomes less destructive, although many of his actions still seem driven by his awareness of his own mortality. Gilgamesh and his companion, for example, embark on a series of adventures to create a name for themselves, seemingly so their names will endure after their deaths. However, during their adventures, the heroes seem to have difficulty accepting death, and they must encourage each other to face death with courage: "All living creatures born of the flesh shall sit at last in the boat of the West, and when it sinks, when the boat of Magilum sinks, they are gone; but we shall go forward and fix our eyes on this monster" (Sandars, 81)."

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