Gilgamesh the King of Flaws

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jessie1608
Words 1421
Pages 6
Gilgamesh the King of Flaws An unbalanced make up of two parts god and one part man, Gilgamesh suffers most from arrogance. He is the greatest of all men, and both his virtues and his flaws are massive. He is the uncompromising of warriors and the most determined of builders. Yet until Enkidu, his near equal, arrives to serve as a balance to Gilgamesh’s restless energies, he exhausts his subjects with continual battle, forced labor, and unselective exercises of power. Beautiful to see, Gilgamesh selfishly indulges his cravings, raping whatever woman he desires, whether she is the wife of a warrior or the daughter of a noble, or even a bride on her wedding night. One particular night when Enkidu, the wild beast of the steppes comes to find Gilgamesh, he is infuriated by the inconsiderate behavior and attacks Gilgamesh. The men fight and Gilgamesh realizes that Enkidu is a lot like him. Enkidu and Gilgamesh spoke after their fight, and Gilgamesh wants Enkidu to help him fight the beast of the Cedar forest Humbaba. Enkidu agrees after telling Gilgamesh about his experience within the same forest.
My friend, I knew that country
When I roamed with the wild beasts.
The forest is sixty double leagues in every direction,
Who can go into it?
Humbaba’s cry is the roar of a deluge,
His maw is fire, his breath is death.
Why do you want to do this?
The haunt of Humbaba is a hopeless quest. (Unknown)
The two heroes stand before the forest’s gate, and they see that Humbaba’s footsteps have cut clear paths through the woods, indicating his size and might. That night Gilgamesh makes another offering to Shamash the sun god. He prays that Shamash will visit him in a dream and grant him a favorable omen. Gilgamesh and Enkidu construct a shelter against the wind and, huddling together for warmth, lie down, and sleep. The extent of Shamash’s importance and influence is a…...

Similar Documents

Gilgamesh

...The Epic of Gilgamesh is known to be the oldest recorded story in human history that is over 4000 years old. The story introduces “the first hero” ever known. A cruel Sumerian king who ruled the city of Uruk and did not care for his people but himself, he thought too highly of himself because he was half god, very strong, and had never found an equal. Although no one could defeat him, the people and gods were tired of his selfishness and decided to end his cruelty. They created a human named Enkidu who was as strong as him and both fought a fiercely battle where Gilgamesh had defeated Enkidu but realized that he had finally found an equal. The story follows Gilgamesh on a quest with Enkidu who becomes his friend. They both go out and fight different obstacles to save the world but before they can do that Enkidu dies in a battle leaving Gilgamesh with great sorrow, and seeks on a new quest to find eternal life for him and to bring his friend back to life. His selfishness to gain immortality leaves him with nothing but to realize that eternal life is not just given that easy. This old story continues to influence modern storytelling. There are different connections to this story like the Bible’s Old Testament and Greek mythology that still have a role in today’s society. The Bible’s Old Testament has many stories in common with the Epic of Gilgamesh. Since there are many followers of the Bible, it is very interesting to know how people would react to the similarities that......

Words: 1380 - Pages: 6

Gilgamesh

...The Epic of Gilgamesh: An Analysis The Epic of Gilgamesh teaches us many things about the Mesopotamian perception of the metaphysical. The Mesopotamian gods are quite Hellenistic in the way that they may interfere as they see fit with human beings to the point that they may conceive children with them; Gilgamesh himself is two thirds god and one third man. Gilgamesh’s mother is Ninsun who is a minor goddess known for her wisdom and his father was the king of Uruk before him. Throughout the story there are instances of the gods interfering in the deeds of men, for instance once Enkidu and Gilgamesh return to the city of Uruk with the wood they have taken from the great cedar forest Ishtar the goddess of love, war, and half a dozen other things asks Gilgamesh to be her consort which Gilgamesh turns down rather rudely citing the terrible fates of her past lovers. Enraged Ishtar acquires the bull of heaven to destroy the city of Uruk and in another deed of heroic valor Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the bull of heaven. So not only do the gods mate and interact with humans, they also feel emotions like that of a human. In the case of Ishtar she is quite capable of feeling petty emotions like jealousy and rage, these feelings push her to potentially punish all of Uruk by releasing the bull of heaven. Ishtar paints a picture of the gods that portrays an unwieldy and cantankerous relationship between men and gods that most of the time ends up putting people in a not so desirable......

Words: 1239 - Pages: 5

Gilgamesh

...Gilgamesh is the Priest-King of the city of Uruk. He is a tyrannical king who works his people to death and takes what he wants from them. He kills the young men at will and uses the women as he pleases. The people of Uruk cry out to the gods for help so that they can have peace. The gods hear them and instruct Anu, the goddess of creation, to make a twin for Gilgamesh, someone who is strong enough to stand up to him and who will ultimately save him. Anu makes Enkidu, a hairy wild man who lives in the wilderness with the animals. One day a trapper sees Enkidu by a water hole and is frightened. He tells his father of the wild man he saw. His father tells the trapper to go to see Gilgamesh. He tells his son to ask the king for a temple prostitute to bring back with him to seduce Enkidu. The trapper returns with Shamhat, a temple prostitute from the temple of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. They wait for Enkidu to reappear by the watering hole. Enkidu returns and Shamhat reveals herself to him. They copulate for six days and seven nights. When Enkidu is satisfied, he finds that the animals no longer accept him. Shamhat tells him to come back with her to Uruk. Upon hearing of Gilgamesh, Enkidu decides he wishes to meet him. The two set out for Uruk, making a stop at a shepherd's camp. There Enkidu learns that Gilgamesh will sleep with a newly married bride on her wedding night, before her husband sleeps with her. He is outraged and decides he must stop Gilgamesh.......

Words: 492 - Pages: 2

Gilgamesh

...Irene Wanja Dr Lancaster Eng 230.06 24 February 2014 Role of women in “the epic of Gilgamesh” The epic of Gilgamesh (King of Uruk) is a story his personality and his beliefs. Gilgamesh is a tyrant, a “powerful warrior who shows his mettle in battle” (Abusch 2001). This Mesopotamian hero is a tyrant, big and prominent. He goes through some things in his life that have him making a three hundred and sixty degree turn around in all aspects of his life. It is not written by just one author but has been an evolving story over a millennium. Women in ancient Mesopotamia were considered property of the husband. The man was the head of the house, and the woman’s duty was to cook, bare children for the men and raise them. The main value of women in ancient Mesopotamia was child bearing. The stages of life for the women of Mesopotamia went from being a daughter to being a bride, then a spouse and finally a housekeeper. Though they are not prominently features, the epic of Gilgamesh shows the importance of women and their role in everyday life. They are valuable in the story because without them, the men would not have gotten as far as they did. They are highly influential because they have power, which they each use differently. Shamhat is the temple prostitute, very morally loose woman who will lay with any man. She is sent by Gilgamesh to give herself to Enkidu and have sex with him so that the animals will see and not want to be associated with him anymore. The king’s thinking is......

Words: 1477 - Pages: 6

Gilgamesh

...ourselves. In “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and Ama Ata Aidoo’s “Anowa” we see two character’s Gilgamesh and Anowa searching for substance in people who are unlike themselves. Their life’s counterparts have what they are lacking within themselves; security. In both Anowa and Gilgamesh’s relationships we are able to see their true characteristics through their choice of mates. Both characters are portrayed to be powerful but when we see who they fall in love with we learn the nature of their true self. We learn that though they may appear strong and confident are in actuality both insecure. Gilgamesh is described in the beginning of the story as “like a bull he makes himself mighty head raised (over others)” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 8). He is boastful and constantly ensuring everyone feels his presence when around. He acts as though he is all powerful, filled with courage, without insecurities. Whereas in the story of Anowa, she is not like a bull necessarily but still very strong willed as described by the old woman and man in the story “That Anowa is something else….she listens to her own tales, laughs at her own jokes and follows her own advice” (Iglesias, Mays and Pierce 92). Anowa is very different from the women of her culture. She is not one who just goes with whatever the man says, but instead has a mind and opinion of her own. The descriptions of both characters suggest that neither one has any insecurities. You have Gilgamesh who is the king or Uruk taking and......

Words: 1487 - Pages: 6

Gilgamesh

...RR: Gilgamesh The epic poem Gilgamesh is about the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh. He was two-thirds god and one third human, and ruled as a tyrant. The gods created Enkidu, a wild man just as powerful as Gilgamesh, to keep him in check. A hunter finds him living with animals, and brings a temple prostitute to tame him. Enkidu sleeps with the woman and becomes part of the human world. Once Enkidu learns about Gilgamesh, he wants to challenge him. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight, but Gilgamesh eventually wins. He and Enkidu become friends, and decide to go on an adventure. They go to a forest forbidden to mortals, and steal trees. They send the trees back to Uruk, and make a gate. The goddess of love, Ishtar, is overcome with lust for Gilgamesh, but he rejects her. Her father Anu sends the Bull of Heaven to punish him, but Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill it. After this, the gods decide that either Gilgamesh or Enkidu must be punished. The gods make Enkidu sick, and he dies. Gilgamesh grieves immensely for Enkidu, and goes to seek out Utnapishtim, who was granted eternal life, in order to try and learn how to avoid death. However, Utnapishtim test Gilgamesh and he fails. Utnapishtim sends Gilgamesh back to Uruk, where he learns to accept his mortality. The story of Gilgamesh relates to IGE in that it examines values, in this case the value of life. Gilgamesh is so materialistic that he wants as much of everything as he can get. The fact that he is part god pretty much......

Words: 517 - Pages: 3

Gilgamesh

...Our society is built upon relationships. Most decisions people make are based on how they will affect themselves and other people. The artist “Banks” album “Goddess” is an example of the different type of relationships people have and how that affects our lives. Another theme that “Goddess” expresses is the flaws the human society possesses. The album appears to be a “love album” but Banks’ verses are in common with how society thinks. Banks also expresses how people generally act towards each other. Our relationships with ourselves and with society are aspects of the same relationship, and they unfold simultaneously. As we travel the road of self-knowledge, discovering our identity, we also become conscious of the greater human society. We come to know that our relationship with society is to assume the responsibility we necessarily have because we participate in it. In the song “Brain” Banks talks about how people overthink things in life. “Don't hurt your brain. Thinking what you're gonna say..cause everything's a game…always trying to calculate…trying to look smart, but not too smart,
to threaten anything they say.” The obvious meaning behind this line is to stop over calculating things just to make it seem like one has things under control. One doesn’t have to have all the answers in life. One of the underlying motivations for misrepresenting ourselves is avoiding discomfort. Avoiding discomfort might include admitting we aren't as nice as we hope, or the discomfort of......

Words: 1831 - Pages: 8

Gilgamesh

...Epic of Gilgamesh The Epic of Gilgamesh gives voice to the ancient Mesopotamian's expectations and desires for its kings. Through this chronicle the reader discovers that Mesopotamian kings should please the gods but understand humanity. With knowledge, courage, counsel and judgment the kings should protect their people, be strong and impressive; create legacies; consult with experts and be appropriately humble; they should beware of arrogance, boastfulness and, in the case of Gilgamesh and Ishtar, should not disrespect powerful women. Throughout the epic the narrator reminds the importance of knowledge. Gilgamesh is lauded for being "the man to whom all things were known," including the countries of the world, secrets, mysteries and history of life prior to a devastating catastrophe (P. 61). Near the end of the tale the narrator repeats that Gilgamesh was wise and had witnessed mysteries and knew secrets (P. 117). The epic describes the collection of knowledge, creation of writings, buildings and passages, and begins with the narrator proclaiming "to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh" (P. 61). Knowledge, wisdom and legacies are expected of kings; such attributes please the gods and serve to fortify the kings' societies through physical protections, cultural development and ideology. To obtain knowledge and protect legacies, Mesopotamian kings should be courageous, seek counsel and exercise good judgment (P. 61, 76, 80-81). A good king should exhibit compassion and......

Words: 302 - Pages: 2

Gilgamesh Summary

...Gilgamesh Passages Tablet I The tablet I passage from line 1 to 28 are significant because it talks about how he (Gilgamesh) was granted powers and with these powers such as knowledge, Anu granted him the totality of knowledge of all (line 4) describes how Anu the father of the gods gave Gilgamesh the power of knowledge. He built the city and raised its walls in all it magnificent splendors. He carved on a stone stela all of his toils, and built the walls of Uruk-Haven (Line 9-10). Also look at the wall which gleams like copper (?), inspect its inner wall, the like of which no one can equal (lines 11-12). These text describe the walls and how the city Uruk was built by a mighty being like Gilgamesh. This at the end describing the city and certain thing built by Gilgamesh such as the Temples, Gardens, and the league (probably referring to the ocean or body of water). Another passage from I is the 3rd passge from which the people of Uruk prayer to he gods. This passage shows how the people of Uruk don’t enjoy Gelgamesh as a king due to how he treats his people for ex. Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother (?) The Daughters of the warrior, the bride of the young man (line 5-6). Gilgamesh is all powerful so no one can challenge him and he deemed as a bad King as how he treats his people like wild ox. The people get fed up with the treatment and they pray for the gods to make him his match (a zikru). All this so explaned in line 7 of the next passage. (Let them be a......

Words: 3333 - Pages: 14

Gilgamesh and Odysseus

...Gilgamesh and Odysseus were two heroes from two completely different time periods that were both in search of the meaning of life, or what could be done in a lifetime. Gilgamesh and the Odyssey are both categorized as hero myths. This is because both hero's go through growth and change throughout out their conquests. The epics that the two characters are featured in Gilgamesh, was developed from early Mesopotamia and the Odyssey in early Greece. Gilgamesh was a very popular and it was very valuable to the historian of Mesopotamian culture because it reveals much about the religious world, such as their attitudes toward the gods, how a hero was defined and regarded, views about death and friendship. The Odyssey was also very popular in its era. It was set in ancient Greece where in its culture; mythology was the heart of everyday life. Gilgamesh, the hero from the epic Gilgamesh, was the historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the river Euphrates. He lived about 2700B.C. Odysseus, the hero from the epic the Odysseus, was the ruler of the island kingdom of Ithaca. He was one of the most prominent Greek leaders of the Trojan War. Both of these men were granted certain strengths, Gilgamesh had physical, while Odysseus had mental strengths. The journeys of Gilgamesh and Odysseus are two incredible stories written long ago; these two heroes have many similarities, but also many differences. The differences are between these two great heroes are slim, but significant. Gilgamesh......

Words: 2517 - Pages: 11

Gilgamesh

...Destiny Vincent English 2010 Dr. Tuman 11 July 2014 Word Count: 784 One of The Iliad’s main characters, Achilles, endures a knife to the heart as his one and only son was killed in battle while he sat back and watched. Similarly, one of the main character’s in Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh himself, gets his heart completely ripped out once he accepts the fact that he will never attain immortality. Though the causes of Achilles’ and Gilgamesh’s grief are completely different, the extent of their grief and their optimism in their respective situations are what make them highly comparable. Achilles and Gilgamesh both grieve, but for different reasons. The way they handle their grief is what makes these characters alike. Achilles has the power to prevent his son, Sarpedon, from losing his life in battle, but is persuaded by his wife, Hera, not too. It has been made very clear to the audience that Achilles is sincerely passionate about his son in book XVI when he says, “Fate has is that Sarpedon, whom I love more than any man, is to be killed by Patroclus” (471-472). He wants to intervene and put a stop to this tragedy, but is told by his wife “...don’t expect all of us to approve…If you send Sarpedon home alive…Think of the resentment you will create” (480-485). Imagine watching your only child die in battle, knowing you could have prevented it, but your wife is in your ear blatantly telling you to let him die. Nonetheless, time passes and Sarpedon’s fate does indeed come to pass...

Words: 821 - Pages: 4

Epic of Gilgamesh

...The Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh is the oldest to have survived into the modern era. Thus the greatest value of Gilgamesh is that it opens a window for modern readers into their collective past. The tale’s content reveals much about humanity’s earliest social and religious concerns, while its form reveals equivalent insights about the relationship between instruction and entertainment in an oral culture. The story of Gilgamesh reveals both a desire to commemorate the hero’s greatness and an obligation to learn from his flaws. The first thing the audience learns from the story is that Gilgamesh builds protective walls around the city, a great gift to his society. When the audience next learns that the king has been abusive to the young men of the city and has deflowered young maidens, their disapproval of these acts is tempered by their initial approval of his great accomplishment. Overall, the early portions of the story demonstrate that the abiding criterion for judgment is not the happiness of the individual, even if that individual is the king, but the good of society as a whole. When Gilgamesh exercises the kingly privilege in deflowering maidens, his actions may be legal, but they fail to provide any benefit for Uruk and are therefore condemned. Thus does the audience learn that greatness entails responsibility, not just strength. Crucial to the lesson of the story is Gilgamesh’s status as two-thirds god, one-third human. Kings are more than human and therefore are......

Words: 363 - Pages: 2

Gilgamesh

...INTRODUCTION THE OLDEST STORY IN THE WORLD In Iraq, when the dust blows, stopping men and tanks, it brings with it memories of an ancient world, much older than Islam or Christianity. Western civilization originated from that place between the Tigris and the Euphrates, where Hammurabi created his legal code and where Gilgamesh was written -- the oldest story in the world, a thousand years older than the Iliad or the Bible. Its hero was a historical king who reigned in the Mesopotamian city of Uruk in about 2750 BCE. In the epic, he has an intimate friend, Enkidu, a naked wild man who has been civilized through the erotic arts of a temple priestess. With him Gilgamesh battles monsters, and when Enkidu dies, he is inconsolable. He sets out on a desperate journey to find the one man who can tell him how to escape death. Part of the fascination of Gilgamesh is that, like any great work of literature, it has much to tell us about ourselves. In giving voice to grief and the fear of death, perhaps more powerfully than any book written after it, in portraying love and vulnerability and the quest for wisdom, it has become a personal testimony for millions of readers in dozens of languages. But it also has a particular relevance in today's world, with its polarized fundamentalisms, each side fervently believing in its own righteousness, each on a crusade, or jihad, against what it perceives as an evil enemy. The hero of this epic is an antihero, a superman (a superpower,......

Words: 3615 - Pages: 15

Gilgamesh

...January 14th, 2016 Essay #1 Epic heroism usually denotes to an individual of highest social class such as great kings or leaders. Epic heroes are outstanding fighters, sometimes carrying some divine powers. To show his heroic elements, the hero must confront some supernatural enemies, quests, war, or adversity. The Epic of Gilgamesh depicts most of these characteristics of epic heroism. The description about his birth to the journey and adventures in his life meets the characteristics of an epic hero. Although, at some points, Gilgamesh engages in acts of selfishness and arrogance, I believe he achieves the characteristics of an epic hero and portrays those characteristics throughout the epic. Gilgamesh is described as a son of a mortal man and a goddess, which makes him a one-third man and a two-thirds god. During his birth, Gilgamesh is marked out as a unique type of a person who has connections with both the mortal world and the divine world. The divine birth is very central and important to the various adventures and achievements to come into his life. “When the gods created Gilgamesh they gave him a perfect body…..Two-thirds they made him a god and one-third man (Mitchell, 13). Like most epic heroes, Gilgamesh embarks on heroic quests where he fights with the guardian Humbaba, which was a monster of the holy forest in order to achieve immortal status. Gilgamesh reveals his courageous nature by defying his advisers, including his own mother in efforts to......

Words: 692 - Pages: 3

Gilgamesh

...The Babylonian myth of Gilgamesh is an epic hero myth found in the Akkadian manuscripts believed to have been written 2150-1400 BCE which seems to be one of the oldest and longest legends found in ancient Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh appears to have actually lived and is accepted as the fifth king of Uruk and the myth that surrounds his divine status is one that seems to have developed through oral accounts of his legendary acts that were later transcribed on twelve tablets that create the “Epic of Gilgamesh.” As is the case with oral traditions, there is no documented author to the original story, however one transcriber, known as Shin-Lei-Unninni (1300-1000 BCE) is credit for one of the best preserved versions of this epic poem which is written in cuneiform script (Mark). This epic poem depicts the hero Gilgamesh as a renowned warrior whose divine rule is supported with his stature and appearance attributed to his parentage that characterize him as one-third man and two-third god. His mother is the goddess Ninsun and his father is King Lugalbanda. Unfortunately, his tragic flaw of arrogance during the first part of his life incurs the wrath of the gods. His tyrannical behavior and disregard of his people would probably be considered by the Swiss psychologist, C.G. Jung as the unconscious inherited traits of childhood and youth not fully balanced with adulthood or consciousness. For Jung the balance between the external world (conscious) and the internal (unconscious)......

Words: 984 - Pages: 4