Gilgamesh Summary Essay

First Impression
Gilgamesh’s story is one of the best sources of ancient literature that I have ever come across. The level of comic effects, sarcasm and legendary tales in which the story contains a perfect mixture of all makes the story more than epic. The fact that Gilgamesh was a self-obsessed king who lay will all the women on their wedding day was one of the most fascinating stories that I have ever read. In addition, the fact that this tale is from one of the most ancient civilizations, Mesopotamia, makes the story one invaluable asset to the world of literature, and the collection that I have been lucky enough to read through. As such, it is the oldest piece of literature I have ever read, since it is dated even much earlier than the Bible, with Gilgamesh’s tale of the storm being dated to have occurred at the same time or could be assumed to be the same flood as that of Noah. Gilgamesh’s personality changed from his egotistic womanizing habits to a more calm and resourceful king, due to the influence that his equally energetic beast-man, Enkidu had on him.

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Critical Observation
Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s story is highly legendary, in that a number of constellations in the night sky have their naming system originating from this legend. The use of gods in the story also shows how religious it might have been to the people of Mesopotamia back then. In addition, the entire story is not written on a usual scroll like most ancient Literature pieces, but rather is a collection of 12 ancient tablets, which were used to preserve this piece of literature. Another source of fascination of the story is the fact that Gilgamesh was one thirds human and two-thirds god. Even with most literature pieces being fictional, the aspect of fiction in this case is of an immeasurable extent. The piece also covers sex and lust, which were oddly ignored in most ancient literature pieces, thus making this piece one of the most valuable and realist piece of Mesopotamia’s literature pieces. The narration of the main characters Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s characters being diverse, and the role of Enkidu in influencing Gilgamesh to change from being ruthless to being a king who is more inclined with the lives of his servants and citizens is another key observation I made all through the story. Enkidu is half human and half beast, and initially he grazed in the fields like any other animals, and eventually became one of the most influential people, who even saved the king’s life a number of times. For instance, when they went out to the cedar forest to kill Huwawa, were it not for the former beast, Gilgamesh would have died and not ended being legendary as painted by the epic.

Journal
Reading this piece was an eye opening experience, which shows how related literature and religion are. For instance, the narration of Enkidu as a grass grazing half-human half beast, might be assumed as pure fiction by most people, but this is comparable to the tales of the biblical King Nebuchadnezzar, who was punished by God to graze like a beast for seven years. Likewise, the comparison of this ancient tale with the biblical sense also brings in a number similarities between ancient literature and the scriptures. For instance, the vast use of the number seven, such as the seven days of the flood, Seven Layers of god Huwawa, the seven days that Shamhat made love to Enkidu and other such instances, is also present in the bible, Quran and other religious literature pieces. As such, this was one of my key teachings from the literature. In some way, as opposed my common practice of refuting any fictional story as a made up tale, for a moment, I felt moved by the story and somehow assumed the possibility that it might be a real tale. It was a great experience, one that I cherish and vow to research further.

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