From Mesopotamia, Gilgamesh is a heroic figure that encompasses all of the greatest virtues of mankind. The poems tell a story about the trials and tribulations that Gilgamesh faces. The poem is one of the first examples of written works that has the use of themes that are still prevalent in much of the literature written in the modern era. The themes of motivation by love and friendship, the inevitability of death, and the warning of the danger of the unknown are still common themes found in works today. The writing of The Epic of Gilgamesh helped to lay the foundation for many literary elements for the modern world by telling a thoughtful, captivating story that people still can relate to today.
Bromance: as old as recorded history
In the Separation of Wild Animal Nature and Human Nature in Gilgamesh: Roots of a Contemporary Theme, Patrick Barron examines the literary themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh, particularly the tumultuous relationship between nature and civilization as portrayed in the character Enkidu. Barron suggests that Gilgamesh’s attitude towards animal nature sets the tone for works of literature to this day. In this paper, the author argues that Enkidu’s divorce from his animalistic side is the main conflict of Gilgamesh and that both Gilgamesh and the goddess Inanna (Ishtar) are both to blame for this tragic separation.
Barron chooses Gilgamesh as the work for analysis based on its merit as the oldest surviving piece of written literature and as such, a template for all subsequent works that feature similar hostility towards animal nature. He hopes that by studying Gilgamesh he could address the implication of the separation, and takes steps to rectify the problem. According to Barron, the separation of Enkidu from nature is at the very heart of Gilgamesh and all the events that follow are a direct result of this action. Enkidu is created as a counterpart to Gilgamesh, meant to balance Gilgamesh’s civilized violence with his savage sympathy. Together, they are supposed to represent two sides of the greater self. But this union is doomed from the start as a result of Enkidu’s traumatic severance from the wild, which prevents him from fully connecting with Gilgamesh.
Barron points out that by participating in Humbaba’s murder, Enkidu unwittingly assists in his own death. Before his domestication, Enkidu serves as an adopted protector of wildlife, freeing animals from the snares of poachers and destroying the traps of hunters. As the story progresses, he gradually loses his animal nature as he adopts the trappings of civilization. After relations with Shamhat, the animals disown Enkidu and no longer accept him as one of their own. After he...
Free Epic of Gilgamesh Essays: Themes of Gilgamesh
In what is now the country of Iraq, part of the great "Fertile Crescent" between the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates, and where Hammurabi created his famous legal codes, ancient Babylon was the home of the epic story of Gilgamesh, written circa 1700 B.C.E and the oldest known story in the world which predates Homer's Iliad and Odyssey by a thousand years. The hero in The Epic of Gilgamesh was an historical king who reigned supreme in the Mesopotamian city of Uruk sometime around 2750 B.C.E. ... But when Enkidu dies, the king is overwrought with emotion and sadness and then sets out to on a...
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