Theme Of Man Vs Nature In Gilgamesh

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Throughout the epic of Gilgamesh the theme of man vs. nature is extensively explored through the characters Enkidu and Gilgamesh. At the start of the epic, Enkidu represents the wild, and Gilgamesh represents the civilized man. However, Enkidu finds himself becoming civilized through his sexuality with the harlot Shamhat, along with his newfound friendship with Gilgamesh. Once Enkidu becomes somewhat civilized, he is no longer welcome among the animals. This transition is meant to praise civilization, portraying it conquering the wild in Enkidu. While Enkidu and Gilgamesh become friends, the conflict between man and nature is not resolved. Both characters still end up battling with internal man vs. wild conflicts along with external man vs. …show more content…
He suddenly faces the question of mortality when before, he and Enkidu seemed invincible. Gilgamesh is “afraid of death, so [he] wander[s] the wild, to find Uta-napishti,” (IX 5-6) the one man who has escaped the doom of mortality. During his journey, he continuously battles nature. First, he meets the scorpion-men. When “Gilgamesh [sees] the, in fear and dread he [covers] his face.” (IX 42-43) Upon the realization that Gilgamesh is ⅔ god, they let him pass. Soon, Gilgamesh meets Uta-napishti, and is challenged to stay awake for six days and seven nights. Gilgamesh tries and fails. He cannot beat the natural power of sleep. Gilgamesh is eventually told about a plant that will restore his youth. Gilgamesh retrieves this plant and bathes in a pool of water, but because “of the plant’s fragrance, a snake caught scent, came up in silence, and bore the plant off.” (XI 305- 306) In this conflict of man vs. nature, Gilgamesh has lost. He cannot beat death, as he has lost the plant that could restore his youth, and he cannot even beat the snake that steals the plant away from him. Up until Enkidu’s death, civilization had won when up against nature. Humbaba was slain, the Bull of Heaven was slain, and Enkidu was civilized. However, his death reminds Gilgamesh that nature has the unbeatable power of death, something that he cannot overcome, no matter how hard he

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