Gilgamesh: Futile Quest for Immortality

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From Dust to Dust: Gilgamesh’s Futile Quest for Immortality What is it that makes us human? What is it that separates us from the gods? Throughout human history and literature, there have been countless examples of men and women who contemplate these questions. In the end, the only difference that really matters is that we are mortal and we know that everything has a definite end. However, some humans cannot accept it and try to avoid the inevitable fact. In the ancient Sumerian epic poem of Gilgamesh, the king Gilgamesh desires eternal life and tries to get it by ignoring the laws of nature and the rules of the gods. He never realizes that he cannot fully control his own immortality and his legacy. Even though Gilgamesh keeps fails in his lifelong pursuit of eternal life and kleos, he never ceases this impossible desire until the very end. As he proudly looks at the city that he has built as his last chance for immortality, he never realizes that it too must eventually deteriorate, just like him. Instead of choosing to enjoy his one life to the fullest, he pathetically wasted his entire life in futile attempt to prevent the inevitable. Man cannot control or extend his own life. Just like any living thing, man must also have a limit. A beautiful apple is blossoming on the tree. In time, this apple will fall off the branch, drop to the ground, and begin to rot. Its shiny skin will lose its sheen and its fragrance will fade away. A worm will crawl through its flesh and eventually the apple will decay and become part of the earth again. Why do any humans think they are different from this apple? In Gilgamesh, Enkidu suffers from the disease for 12 days and dies, which forces Gilgamesh to confront his own finite lifespan. As Gilgamesh mourns the death of his friend, he becomes shocked as he roams the wilderness, asking, “Shall I not die too? Am I not like Enkidu?...

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