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
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.
Free Epic of Gilgamesh Essays: Themes of Gilgamesh
Learn about themes from The Epic of Gilgamesh