The Epic Of Gilgamesh, By Gilgamesh Essay

929 Words Nov 30th, 2015 4 Pages
The Epic of Gilgamesh serves as the oldest surviving piece of literature in existence and weaves a narrative of a tyrannical king who gradually changes into an upstanding and benevolent ruler of the ancient city-state of Uruk. This work is more than a poem surrounding Gilgamesh: it incorporates extensive themes such as longing for immortality, the clash between nature and nurture, and one man’s path to enlightenment. Through Gilgamesh’s pursuit of harmony among the multiple faces of his being: a ruler, a mortal man, and two-thirds deity, this epic reveals the changing perspective of kingship. To begin with the character the epic is crafted around, Gilgamesh is the king of the ancient city-state of Uruk. Gilgamesh’s journey transforms his manner of rule from a tyrannical leader, to a desperate king in search of immortality, to a mortal man dedicated to being a wise and revered ruler. The characterization of Gilgamesh reveals a few of the standards of kingship held in high regard in ancient Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh is written as an extraordinary, prominent king who is indeed godlike as “he was born, two-thirds of him god and one third human” (Tablet I, 48). It is quite common in studying the ancient Near East to see instances of attributing sacred aspects in an attempt to legitimize the office of a king. Hence, in this epic, divine kingship is represented in the initial depiction of our protagonist, Gilgamesh. The attributes assigned to Gilgamesh as a demigod who was said to…

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