The Hero's Journy In "Gilgamesh" and "Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth"

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The hero’s journey into the unknown is a rampant theme among many pieces of literature. This theme has been retold many times because it is one which every and any reader can relate to. The journey to the unknown is a path of self-discovery, a path that is obscure and undefined but what is to be obtained at the end of the path is clear, the ability to look at things from a new perspective, a greater understanding of things, a clue to the mystery of the self and life. This journey is a pattern of human behavior that occurs each and every day. Things that are already known are used to guide us to further delve into the unknown. The process of journeying into the unknown can be divided into three parts, separation from the known, transformation, and returning to the known. The Sumerian myths of The Epic of Gilgamesh and Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth are two of the oldest stories to portray the journey to the unknown. Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu first journey to the unknown in their quest through Cedar Forest to kill the great beast Humbaba, a terrifying abomination put there by the gods to keep men away from the forest. Gilgamesh desires immortality and desires to kill Humbaba to become famous and remembered by his people, if he cannot become physically immortal he can become immortal figuratively, engraving his name in history. With Enkidu as his guide through the forest, they leave their known town and pass through the seemingly endless Cedar Forest to Humbaba’s den. Their figurative transformation takes place when they confront Humbaba. Gilgamesh and Enkidu become afraid and lose themselves in the face of this new obstacle. They forget who they were and are. But as each friend urges each other on, they regain sense of themselves. They remember being warriors and gain a stronger feel of confidence. They slay Humbaba and return to their home, more confident
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