Book Review Essay

Submitted By AIDRIIIAN
Words: 2086
Pages: 9

Book Review: The Epic of Gilgamesh

The story of Gilgamesh provides an introduction for a man known as Gilgamesh, the king of a large settlement in ancient Mesopotamia called Uruk, who was a demigod. A demigod is a person that is two-thirds god and one-third human. During his lifespan, Gilgamesh built many great structures including temples and ziggurats, and protected the city with large walls. He was said to be an extremely wise man, who was also incredibly strong. Even though Gilgamesh was seen as a god, he was a very cruel king when he first came into power. Many of his accomplishments as king were made through forcing his workers to build many projects. The workers detested Gilgamesh for this, and after a while the gods heard their cries. They decided to punish Gilgamesh, and created a friend for him named Enkidu. He was amazing like Gilgamesh, and they developed a great friendship over time. However, Gilgamesh was greatly saddened when the gods decided to end Enkidu’s life. Consequently, Gilgamesh develops a fear of death, and goes off on a journey to answer all of his questions. The story starts with the character Enkidu. He resides with many different animals, acting as they do. One day, a hunter is surprised to find Enkidu at a watering place. When he left, the hunter spoke to Gilgamesh about Enkidu, and asked if he could bring a temple prostitute back with him. She would attempt to change Enkidu’s habits. Enkidu finally sleeps with the prostitute and the animals no longer accept him because his ways changed to those of humans. Since he has become part of the human world, the prostitute proceeds to teach him how to be a man. When Enkidu hears about Gilgamesh’s extreme methods, he becomes outraged and travels to Uruk to confront the king. When Enkidu finally arrives, he finds that Gilgamesh is in the process of breaking into a woman’s wedding chamber. Enkidu blocks his path, and the two men start to fight. After a rather long brawl, Gilgamesh wins and the two men become great friends and leave on an adventure. During their travels, the two men encounter a great demon by the name of Huwawa. This demon was the entrusted servant of Enlil who was the god of Earth, Wind, and Air. Huwawa was also the guard of trees from a cedar forest that forbid mortals from entering. When Enkidu and Gilgamesh encounter Huwawa while stealing trees from this forest, they fight the demon. With the help of Shamash, the god of Sun, Enkidu and Gilgamesh managed to kill Huwawa. Afterwards, they cut down the trees and make a raft on which they float back to Uruk. When they make it back, Ishtar, the goddess of love, becomes infatuated with Gilgamesh. He rejects Ishtar, and she becomes very angry with him. As a result, Ishtar turns to her father Anu, god of the Sky, to punish Gilgamesh by sending the Bull of Heaven after him. He agrees and the bull is released from the sky, and brings seven years of disease and starvation. Enkidu and Gilgamesh conquer the Bull of Heaven, and believe they are heroes. Unhappy with the outcome, the gods meet to decide the fate of Enkidu and Gilgamesh. They agree that one of them must be punished for their actions, and that Enkidu must be punished by death. He becomes very sick and Gilgamesh is devastated when he dies. Gilgamesh refuses to stop grieving for his friend, and becomes extremely fixated on the idea that he will one day die. In honor of Enkidu’s memory, he trades his kingly belongings for ones similar to Enkidu’s and sets off on a journey to find Utnapishtim. Long before, the gods decided that humankind was incompetent and deserved to be destroyed. They created a plan to flood all of civilization and end humankind. Utnapishtim was told the plan by one of the gods in an effort to try and save as many people and animals as he can. After the flood, the gods decided that it was a mistake to destroy humans. Enlil showed up and becomes