Gilgamesh Arrogance of Power

Humans have a lot of vanity and want to be immortal so they can accept anything that comes their way. Because of this, people can commit immoral actions to satisfy their innermost desires. Humans are prone to believe that humankind will endure forever even though this is not the case. People frequently believe they have more time on earth and are free to act however they please without worrying about the repercussions. Many individuals make valiant efforts to postpone death, despite the fact that it is unavoidable. One must, however, exercise caution because the time they have left on earth is finite. People should seek to touch and influence the lives of others to be commemorated even after death. Living a life of purpose and contentment is essential. This paper analyzes the journey of Gilgamesh and Enkidu to pursue triumph, admiration, praise, and immortality, on the basis of Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh was a young king during the time of Uruq (known currently as Iraq), in 2700 B.C. (TEOG 55). Several ancient mythologies regard Gilgamesh as an extraordinary man who possessed supernatural powers. The king was said to be more of a god than human. However, he had to encounter death just like any other person. Gilgamesh was a tyrant leader who took advantage of his citizens and demanded battles and adventures to show his strength, increase his popularity, and build his legacy. He was so ruthless that he required the privilege of being involved with brides before their husbands were permitted to do so. His arrogance was displayed in his actions that illustrated an individual who believes he has the right to do whatever pleases him.

Due to these torments, his followers prayed to heaven for the gods to intervene and save them from the callousness and arrogance of their king. After hearing their complaints, the mother goddess Aruru responded by creating another being, Enkidu, who exceeded the looks and strength of Gilgamesh (TEOG. Tablet I 61). He may be compared to the army leaders of the later history, such as Alexander the Great, who tried to obtain fame and power through wars and aggression and carelessly instigated the conflicts to prove their power and subdue others to adhere to their rules. Enkidu was created as a mirror image to equal or overrun Gilgamesh’s prowess. The goddess Aruru hoped to use him to deter Gilgamesh pursuit of more power.

Enkidu, in this context, is seen as a great hero made by gods to counterbalance the intemperate excise of powers by Gilgamesh. It was assumed that Enkidu lived in the wild together with animals and had no knowledge about human beings and their ways of living (TEOG. Tablet I 62-63). He was lured into the human civilization when he saw Shamhat, a sex worker from the temple of the goddess of passion. Enkidu was unable to control his feelings towards the good-looking Shamhat and ended up falling in love with her. Slowly, he began to learn how human beings operate and relate to each other. Soon, the animals discarded him since he got engrossed into the rational way of living and abandoned them when they needed him most.

Enkidu firmly believed that he was stronger than Gilgamesh. He decided to journey to Uruk to confront Gilgamesh since he felt that the young king was oppressing people. When the two meet, they wage war but after that became great friends (TEOG. Tablet II-III 68-71). The two allies merged and concurred the giant guard of the cedar woodland, and kill the Heaven Bull. Initially, Enkidu was reluctant to fight, but he was immensely influenced by Gilgamesh to the extent he consequently possessed the same temperament as Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh’s determination to defeat the divinely appointed guardian in mere efforts to cement his legacy showcases the epitome of his arrogance. Moreover, he rejected the romantic advances of Ishtar, the patron goddess hence bringing disaster to all of his subjects. His actions angered the gods who decided that one of the friends had to die, and Enkidu turned out to be the chosen one (TEOG. Tablet VII 87-88).

At the end of this tale, Gilgamesh came back to his senses and gained wisdom after suffering immense misery and grief because of the demise of his ally Enkidu. He matured and began to protect his subjects. He learnt that protection of human life is better and more valuable aspect of life compared to immorality. Gilgamesh also accepted that he was a mortal being who would eventually die and Uruk would last even after his death (TEOG. Tablet XI 103-110).

In conclusion, the epic poem reveals that greed for power and material things forced a man to defile all odds of nature. In the epic, Gilgamesh was initially depicted as a tyranny king whose insensitive actions resulted not only in the suffering of his subjects but also the death of his companion. Some people deceive, steal, seek divine powers and even kill other people in efforts to achieve their hearts desires. It is very alarming of how far a human being can go and the crazy things one can engage in to gain power and authority. But the most important and slightly ironic thing is that even after all these gratifications death still subdues everyone.

Work Cited

Puchner, Martin. “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, 9th ed., vol.1, W.W, Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 2014, pp.54-110. Print.

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