Gilgamesh Selfish

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A Wise King Or A Foolish Hero? Gilgamesh is a character that evolves throughout the epic of Gilgamesh. Throughout the first half of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as courageous and heroic on a quest of terror with his great companion Enkidu. In the end after accepting that he too will have to die and be subject to fate, Gilgamesh settles back into his city setting, only this time to be a wise king rather than the foolish hero he once was. Gilgamesh’s character is something a reader might question after reading the first half of the epic, because Gilgamesh is forceful and acts as if he answers to no one. Another characteristic of Gilgamesh’s personality is his dependency on companionship from Enkidu. Early in the epic it is shown how sovereign…show more content…
Is this the wise shepherd, protector of the people?”(I ii 35-36) They obviously thought he was not up to par in his duties as a king. It is surprising that with a person as dictating and forceful as Gilgamesh, he still longs for and needs human companionship. We see he will have a companion that will not forsake him when Gilgamesh’s dream is interpreted by his mom.(I iv 166-179) Even though we know this toward the beginning, the importance of his companionship is not apparent until Enkidu is dying and Gilgamesh says, “Must I now sit outside the door of the house of the dead? While Enkidu sits in the house of the dead among the shadow companions?” (VII ii 21-24) The sudden death of Enkidu causes Gilgamesh to ponder something he hasn’t been forced to think about before: His vulnerability to death. Gilgamesh treasures this friend so much he does not know what to do without him. Looking to fill this whole he has after Enkidu’s companionship is gone, Gilgamesh turns to a quest seeking immortality to conquer death: something Enkidu had not been able to do. We find Gilgamesh’s quest to let nothing overpower him a reoccurring theme throughout the epic.…show more content…
After ’s long quest to find Utnapishtim, Utnapishtim proves to Gilgamesh there is no way he can become immortal by testing Gilgamesh. Utnapishtim says to Gilgamesh, “Tell me, who would bring all the gods together so that for you they might in council decide what your deserving is, that you be granted admittance into the company of gods?”(XI v 240-243) Utnapishtim said this because he knew there would be no one of importance stand up and for Gilgamesh in this setting. He also knew of Gilgamesh’s persistence, so he told Gilgamesh he would give him a test. Gilgamesh would be satisfied if he had a chance at a test because he can control the outcome of his actions. When the test of going without sleep for a week comes Gilgamesh fails miserably. As soon as he sat down to test himself, he was in a mist of sleep. This was the first obstacle Gilgamesh couldn’t overcome, but it was enough for Gilgamesh to learn he doesn’t have to overpower to be powerful. I believe Gilgamesh realized he was already powerful, but his thirst for more power or to overcome was overpowering his need for companionship.

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