Theme Of Power In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

Power is the defining force in The Epic of Gilgamesh, but power comes in varying forms. In this essay, I will discuss the emphasis of power, how power is obtained, and the distinction of power in male and female characters and through this, it’s evident male power dominates due to Gilgamesh’s power as a king and his ability to defeat a god. The importance of power is what drives the tale of Gilgamesh. His desire for control over the people outside and within his country leads Gilgamesh on his heroic journey. Along the way, Gilgamesh meets others who rival Gilgamesh’s power. First, power symbolizes glory and triumph throughout the kingdom of Uruk. In the eyes of citizens, power comes in the form of physique. Those who are physically stronger …show more content…
The gods, Utnapishtim, and his wife possess the one thing that Gilgamesh does not: the gift of eternal life. Immortality is seen to be the highest form of power one can achieve. While no god can truly escape their death, the gods cannot die without a cause. Gilgamesh does not have this ability and he sees this as his one flaw. This desire for immortality causes Gilgamesh to go on his quest in search for Utnapishtim after he sees his beloved brother and friend die a simple, debilitating death at the hands of the gods. Gilgamesh relays his story to Utnapishtim, “My friends Enkidu, whom I loved so dear, who with me went through every danger: the doom of mortals overtook him…what became of my friend Enkidu was too much to bear, so on a far road I wander the wild,”(pg. 84). This is the ultimate form of power to Gilgamesh and with it he can overcome the looming inevitability of …show more content…
Goddesses are to be worshiped to by kings and all mortal men. Another argument may be that while mortal women may not be superior to men, goddesses are. They possess both physical strength and the intelligence to influence others. My refute to this comes from the incident with Ishtar. While she may have been able to convince Anu to lend her the Bull of Heaven, Gilgamesh and Enkidu were still no match for the beast. The text describes, “Then Gilgamesh like a butcher, brave and skillful, between the yoke of the horns and the slaughter-spot he thrust in his knife. After they had slain the Bull of Heaven, they bore its heart and set it before Shamash” (pg. 52) The goddess was defeated by the two mortal men who bear brute strength. Gilgamesh’s victory over the goddess and the weapon of the god’s only proved his strength and power. His ability to protect and defend his kingdom is why he is perceived as glorious and powerful. If he can defeat the gods, what else stands to challenge his

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