Essay about Epic of Gilgamesh

Submitted By lilbo2215
Words: 695
Pages: 3

Christopher Kinney
September 3, 2010

The Epic of Gilgamesh chronicles the reign of the ruthless King Gilgamesh in the ancient city of Uruk. In the past he has been known to rape ready to be brides and kill warriors for pleasure. It was not until a man of equal strength and power, Enkidu, came along Gilgamesh adapted his ways. As for politics of the time, Gilgamesh’s power seems to fall right in line with what history would dictate. Throughout the story he battles many deadly creatures and passes through dangerous obstacles, such as battling Humbaba in the Forrest of Cedar, the bull sent down by Ishtar, and the tunnel filled with monsters and demons on the way to Uta-napishti. These battles prove without a doubt that he is a great warrior, a standard trait of kings during these early times. Also, these battles prove that as most kings, he has an ego and wants eternal glory. He did also want the best for his followers, as exemplified by him taking the “Old Man Grow Young” plant, not only for himself but also for the elders of his city. The fact that his constituents followed him so closely, even though he occasionally had disagreements with the gods, further suggests that he was indeed a powerful ruler who had the ear of his constituents. The religious aspect of the novel also seems to fit in with the norms of society at the time. Most religions were polytheistic and this is evident by whom the characters reach out to in this story. One such example is Shamash, whom Gilgamesh is constantly making sacrifices to. However, as is standard, the gods do not always seem to agree on every decision. One such example is when Enlil, who seems to be a superior deity himself, bestows a flood upon the planet Earth mean to erase humankind. Another less powerful god, Ea, decided to warn Uta-napishti about the great flood and save humankind. The end result, obviously, is that humankind was indeed saved, but of even greater importance it shows the discord between gods all trying to push their own agenda. All in all though the religious aspect of the story certainly seemed to be in line with the times. As far as society goes, some aspects seemed typical for the age and others seemed rather atypical. There seems to be a natural hierarchy in place with king being above everybody, followed by religious officials, then finally the elders and everybody else. One thing that seems a little up in the air is the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. At this point homosexuality would not be readily accepted, yet there are subtle signs they may indeed be lovers of some degree. It all began when the two…