Bromance: as old as recorded history

The Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the deeds of a famous hero-king of ancient Mesopotamia and is rich with adventure and encounters with strange creatures, men and gods alike. But though these provide a lively and exotic story line, the central concerns of the Epic are really human relationships and feelings—loneliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, regret, and the fear of the oblivion of death. These themes are developed in a distinctly Mesopotamian idiom, to be sure, but with a sensitivity and intensity that touch the modern reader across the chasm of three thousand years.

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke described the Epic of Gilgamesh as the epic about the fear of death.

One of the tasks of religion over the course of human history has been to address the issues of death and dying. Mesopotamian religion is no different in this regard. Mesopotamian religion went through several major phases of development (according to Jacobsen), the final two with greatest impact upon the Epic of Gilgamesh being the facility of gods as rulers of the cosmos, and the usefulness of the gods as personal deities, with concern for individuals.

What is the theme of the epic of Gilgamesh? | Yahoo Answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh Themes One of the major themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh is the human response to death. ‘The knowledge that death is inevitable had earlier proved a challenge to bold undertakings and to victorious action; but now it stultifies action and brings the new experience of defeat.’ (Sandars, p. 36, see also Jacobsen, p. 202) The brashness of youth and youthful exploits by Enkidu and Gilgamesh give way to the stark realities of death, as Gilgamesh realises upon the death of his friend that this has a permanence, a finality that was inconceivable prior to the event. ‘When he loses his friend, Gilgamesh for the first time comprehends death in all its stark reality.’ (Jacobsen, p. 217) As with many youths, Gilgamesh and Enkidu have a sense of their own immortality. This proved to be a false sense, and Gilgamesh is heartbroken.

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