GilgameshQuest to Immortality
TheEpic of Gilgamesh poem has been and will always be considered as thefirst work of literature whose main character is Gilgamesh. The poemsassert that Gilgamesh was cruel and arrogant among the lesser beingbecause he was two-thirds god and one-third being. As a result,Enkidu was sent by gods to challenge him and teach him humility.Gilgamesh won when he fought with Enkidu, but that did not make themenemies because they even became friends. Gilgamesh quest forimmortality was after his friend died. Therefore, he needed theimmortal life because he knew that he would also die. The questionthat begs to be answered is whether Gilgamesh quest for immortalityqualifies him to be a hero or not? In this essay, I affirm thatGilgamesh quest for immortality indeed qualifies him to be named ahero.
Froman individual’s perspective, Gilgamesh was a hero because in hisquest for immortality he underwent many obstacles but he never quit.The fact that he embarks on a journey far away from Uruk in order tofulfill his desire makes him a hero. In literature, heroes do notalways get what they wanted. The journey of a hero is always going toa hostile one where obstacles pop up in every direction. This isusually the case in order to test the hero’s commitment, desire,and passion for achieving the set goals.
Gilgameshwas a true hero because he undertook very risky missions. He went toMount Mashu where the mortals were not allowed to venture. After heconvinced the two scorpion-man guards in the mountain, he endures thedarkness for a whole day to avoid being burnt by the sun. On theother side, Gilgamesh was frightened by the appearance of a ferryman,Siduri, but he managed to convince him to carry him through the waterof death to Utnapishtim. The journey that Gilgamesh underwent wasfull of obstacles, but as a hero, he managed to overcome all of them.
Gilgamesh’sjourney was also prolonged because, on arrival, he received bad news.In literature stories, heroes often have to endure bad news at onepoint in their life. It is how a hero synthesizes the bad news andturnsitinto a positive thing that makes him or her to stand out. In thiscase, Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that immortality was only meant forgods and mortals should learn to accept their fate. Utnapishtim didnot think that Gilgamesh was worth to be granted immortality andchallenged him to prove otherwise by staying in his course.
Gilgamesh’sjourney to search was made more difficult and dangerous because hewas told to go retrieve a plant from the bottom of the sea. Thisplant would restore one to eternal youthful life. Proving himselfthat he was dedicated to the course, Gilgamesh retrieved the plant.Gilgamesh did not use the plant, but he decided that he was goingfirst to test it on an old person in Uruk, but on his way, the snakestole the flower when he was taking a bath. Although Gilgamesh didnot succeed in his quest for immortality, his perspective of rulingchanged. He understood that if he rules well, his legacy will remainforever and by doing so, he became a hero.
Somepeople might argue that Gilgamesh was not a hero because he failed inhis initial quest. He was also not loved by his people due to the wayhe ruled. Also, they may fail to recognize him because he returnedempty handed to Uruk after the snake had stolen the plant. Accordingto his critics, he would have soldier on to retrieve another plant inorder to fulfill his quest. However, the above discussion illustratesthatGilgamesh was in deed a true hero in his own rights. His journey wasan eye opener and it showed him the responsibilities of being a wiseand humble king. It helped him to find the purpose of his life and itguided him on how to rule his people. One learns that there arevarious ways on how one can become a hero.