Similarities Between The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Immortality

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Longing for Immortality
The Odyssey is a Greek tale originating circa 700 BC. Although the author is speculated amongst people, Homer is generally attributed for it. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story originating around 3000 BC. Both stories have been around for centuries, being passed down through generation and generation. Despite the large time gap, these two stories share many distinct similarities, more specifically the theme: a man’s mortality.
In both stories, the Gods are a major element in the lives’ of society. Distinctions between the Gods and the people are made precisely clear: Gods are more powerful and, more importantly, are immortal while men are not. In the second chapter of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh and Enkidu are discussing
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The only “immortality” that is able to be achieved through man is in the memories of others. Gilgamesh realizes this, which provokes him to battle Humbaba at Cedar Forest. This battle will ensure that he is glorious and never forgotten, therefore, immortal in the minds of his people. Before he leaves to Cedar Forest, he prays to Shamash where he again echoes the fact that men cannot live forever. In the prayer he says he will “set up [his] name where the names of famous men are written; and where no man’s name is written [he] will raise a monument to the gods.” He wants to be glorious and to be remembered, even if that means his death to Humababa. He believes that having his name in connection with a great battle will ensure his remembrance in the minds’ of men. The Epic of Gilgamesh stresses the necessity of glory in order to achieve “immortality” while the Odyssey proposes the idea that glory alone will not achieve “immortality” for a …show more content…
After Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh realizes that “misery comes at last to the healthy man, the end of life is sorrow.” Gilgamesh is terrified because not only was his brother has been taken from him, but also because he does not want to be taken, as well. He wants to live. This scene causes Gilgamesh to set out on his quest for immortality, because to Gilgamesh even a glorious death is a death, nonetheless. This perspective on death has a direct parallel in the Odyssey, expressed through Odysseus’ accumulation of grief when he sees the devastating state of the shades in Hades. In each shade Odysseus sees that they are detached from the people they loved and the life they once lived, as Gilgamesh finds himself detached from Enkidu. Achilles teaches Odysseus that he must enjoy the limited time of life he has by telling him it is “better… to break sod as a farm hand / for some poor country man, on iron rations, / than lord it over all the exhausted dead.” Siduri gives Gilgamesh similar advice when she tells him “You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and

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