Essay, Research Paper: Gilgamesh Epic

Literature: Gilgamesh

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The main character in the book The Epic of Gilgamesh is Gilgamesh himself. In
the beginning of the book one realizes that Gilgamesh is an arrogant person.
Gilgamesh is full of himself and abuses his rights as king. He has sexual
intercourse with the virgins of his town and acts as though he is a god.
Although some readers of this classic book may say that Gilgamesh does not
change from the beginning of the book, it can easily be interpreted the other
way. Throughout the book, many things cause Gilgamesh to change. He gains a
friend, he makes a name for himself by killing Humbaba, and he tries to become
immortal because of the death of Enkidu. Through these main actions his
personality changes and he becomes a better person. First, the quest for
immortality after the death of Enkidu shows that Gilgamesh has changed.
Gilgamesh becomes frightened when he realizes that he isn’t immortal. After
the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh tries to find immortality by trying to cross the
ocean to find it. He sounds pathetic as he rambles of his reason for trying to
find everlasting life. His state of being at this part in the book, which is the
end, is completely different from his arrogant beginning of this epic. Gilgamesh
has gone from arrogant to scared. Second, the death of Humbaba changes Gilgamesh.
Humbaba is evil. Many people who live in the city of Uruk fear Gilgamesh. Most
would say that Gilgamesh himself is, in fact, evil. He has sex with the virgins,
he does what he wants, and he tends to offend the gods. He has lots of problems
with Ishtar. By going into the forest and facing Humbaba, Gilgamesh makes a name
for himself and changes the views of the people in his city. This is a very
arguable point. Yes, the past of Gilgamesh does not change, but the great deed
of killing Humbaba, makes him a better person because he protects his city. This
is another arguable point. Most would say he does this only to make a name for
himself, but that is not the case. Gilgamesh does this because of his love for
Enkidu and his people; he has changed from the beginning of the epic. Finally
and most importantly, the main reason that Gilgamesh changes from the beginning
of the book is the friendship that he has with Enkidu. Enkidu is made to make
Gilgamesh more human. In the first paragraph of the book the gods are angry with
Gilgamesh and send down an equal of himself, they send down Enkidu. After
becoming friends, Gilgamesh changes because he has an equal to be with. Enkidu
and Gilgamesh become as close as brothers. Because of this, a very arguable
point comes up. Were Enkidu and Gilgamesh lovers? The answer is obviously yes.
What points in the book show this? They go to sleep holding hands, Gilgamesh
loves Enkidu like a woman, and Gilgamesh goes almost insane after the death of
Enkidu. The point of Enkidu being a lover of Gilgamesh is very important. It
allows the reader to understand the reasoning of Gilgamesh changing. There are
no changes in Gilgamesh as a person until Enkidu enters the picture. Obviously
he is the reason for all eventual changes in the personality and manhood of
Gilgamesh. If the belief and understanding of Gilgamesh and Enkidu being much
more than “good” friends is present, then the understanding of why Gilgamesh
changes in the book is also present. If Gilgamesh is just friends with Enkidu
some change is possible, but not almost total recall as Gilgamesh does in the
book. People change more if there is sex involved and there is a deep
relationship. In order to make Enkidu happy, Gilgamesh has to change, and he
does, throughout their relationship. In reflection, although some people would
say that Gilgamesh does not change from the beginning of the book The Epic of
Gilgamesh, the better understanding of the book reveals that, in fact, Gilgamesh
does change from the beginning of the book to the end. The personality of
Gilgamesh changes for three distinct reasons. First, Gilgamesh changes in the
book because of his insatiable desire for immortality after the death of Enkidu.
Gilgamesh wants immortality after the death of Enkidu. Second, Gilgamesh changes
in the book because of the death of Humbaba.
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