The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of history’s first known literary works. The oldest known manuscript tells the story of Gilgamesh, an ancient Sumerian king who unwittingly embarks on a quest of self-discovery. Throughout the tale, Gilgamesh struggles with the concept of his own mortality and refuses to believe that his life will come to an end. Being a demigod, he perceives himself as a god-like creature. Ultimately however, Gilgamesh gains wisdom on his journey to discover immortality and painfully realizes that his goal is unattainable. His grim outlook on life forces him to accept his worst fear – that someday he will die. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an amazing tale of bravery, greed, brotherhood, power hunger and relationships, everything that germinates modern day stories.
Dating back to about 2000 B.C.E., before Homer’s Iliad, this Mesopotamian poem is still a work in progress since the whole tablets on which this poem was inscribed is still to be found. Tablets of the epic found throughout Mesopotamia and in parts of Anatolia held only portions of the story and were written in different languages. The author of the Epic of Gilgamesh is unknown. Scholars believe it could have existed much earlier through an oral tradition. Through a narrative that describes the trials of this selfish and unhappy man, the author demonstrates the fatuity of human nature and the evolution of a healthier outlook on life. The story contains many of the profound and now cliché truths found in later important documents, such as the Bible. The author's choice to categorize Gilgamesh as a hero serves as a means of further illustrating the misuse of the term epic. Overall, the author aims to create a piece of work that is considered to be an epic - considerably one of the greatest.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a masterpiece of ancient thinking. In 2000 BCE, the author talks about rituals, gods, dreams, death, the after-life and several theological and literary themes that one would expect to have originated much later in our history. The poem is, at times, explicit in its sexuality and nudity. Yet it is always clear that for these ancient people, who are yet to be bound by our modern morality, these parts represent nothing out of the ordinary. The epic shows readers where many stories from the Bible probably originated, including the great flood and the story of Adam and Eve. There are many small references, including fairly evocative snake