Essay on The Epic Of Gilgamesh And The Iliad

1334 Words Feb 24th, 2016 null Page
In the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad, friendship plays an integral transformative role. When Enkidu and Patroclus die, the surviving friends, Gilgamesh and Achilles become better people by exposing their vulnerability through the grieving process. This results in a lifelong transformation. This kind of everlasting friendship is also illustrated by Oeneus and Bellerophon,whose friendship lives on through their grandchildren,after their death. In this paper, I will claim that the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad argue that death has the ability to destroy the physical ties of a sincere friendship, although it can not take away the everlasting positive transformation that culminates from such a friendship, and this is what distinguishes sincere companionship from normal friendships.

The Epic of Gilgamesh asserts that authentic friendship has the ability to transform even the most heartless humans. On Enkidu’s death bed, Gilgamesh uses the metaphor, “my best garment” to reveal the personal friendship he shared with Enkidu. This is because a garment is a personal object, and thus comparing Enkidu to a garment shows that their friendship is more of a brotherhood bond. Gilgamesh further goes on to cover Enkidu’s face “like a bride” and tear his own clothes and hair in bereavement. These gestures portray the intense pain that Gilgamesh is going through, and in turn highlight the major role that Enkidu played in Gilgamesh’s life. Moreover, open expression of grief exposes…

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