Chasing Immortality Essay

Submitted By jerryrogersiii
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Pages: 3

Chasing Immortality
“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is considered the oldest written story on earth (The Epic of Gilgamesh). Even though the story is almost 5000 years old, it contains issues that are still relevant in today’s time. Death is a common fear that is shared by many humans, which is why immortality has been strived for by man for many years. In “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, Gilgamesh tries to overcome this fear. This fear is brought on by the death of his friend Enkidu, which led him on his journey to find immortality, and most importantly the discovery of what true immortality is.
Gilgamesh was two-thirds god and one-third man (The Epic of Gilgamesh). He was also the king of Uruk, but abused the power he had by treating the people of Uruk very cruelly. After pleas for help from the people of Uruk the gods realized that Uruk needed a balance of power so someone could stand up to Gilgamesh. This balance of power was Enkidu, a man that possessed the same amount of power as Gilgamesh. The plan to have the power balanced did not work in the gods favor, but in the opposite because Gilgamesh and Enkidu became very close friends. The gods considered Gilgamesh and Enkidu too powerful together, and knew the evil that would come from them together could not be stopped. Therefore, the gods sent a plague to kill Enkidu. When the day came that Enkidu died, Gilgamesh was overcome with grief, and for the first time understood what death was. These unwanted feelings of sadness and fear cause Gilgamesh to go on his quest to find immortality.
Knowing that his forefather Ziusudra was granted immortality, Gilgamesh sets out on a journey to Mount Mashu, the mountain that guards the rising and setting of the sun. Gilgamesh wanted to ask Ziusudra how he was able to gain immortality by the gods. Once Gilgamesh reached Mount Mashu, he encountered two scorpion beings. The scorpion beings warned Gilgamesh that no mortal man had ever crossed through the mountains and its twelve leagues of darkness. Gilgamesh convinced the two to open the gates and he began to run through the darkness. When he finally reached Ziusudra he was surprised at how manlike he seemed and began to ask him about his immortality. Ziusudra told Gilgamesh about the great flood sent by the gods, and how he only survived because the god Ea warned him to tear down his house and build an ark. After the flood, the god Enlil was enraged that Ziusudra survived, but was convinced by the god Ea that his actions were