”Epic of Gilgamesh” is a story about friendship and the always present human wish to be immortal. The wish is wrapped around with the sad idea that a human cannot fulfill it.
In the works of the Sumerians and Homer gods have faults and are similar to humans but they are immortal. In the Babylon-Sumerian version a man has nothing to hope for because the other life doesn’t give much optimism. The main moral is that people should be aware of their mortality.
This epic was composed in 1700 B.C. It was written in clay tablets with cuneiform. The Sumerians used cuneiform to write their fairytales, myths, legends, and mostly epics.
In a beautiful palace in a ancient town Uruk where the king Gilgamesh lived. He was a cruel tyrant and everyone had to bow down to him. He would take girls away from their men using force and he was one third man and the rest of him represented God.
The people of Uruk couldn’t live with his behavior and they asked the Gods to send a hero that will free them. The gods heard them and made their wishes come true and they created Enkidu. He was born in steppe and ate grass like the animals. He protected the animals from hunters.
He was destroying more and more hunters traps so they decided to tell Gilgamesh about it. His plan was to take a women into the steppe and her job would be to allure Enkidu with her body and apart him from the animals.
Enkidu came close to the women and spent 7 nights with her. She told him about Gilgamesh and his powers so he decided to confront him. They were welcomed to Uruk with high honors.
Gilgamesh won the fight and afterwards his mother interfered into his relationship with Enkidu and they became friends. Despite the luxurious life in the palace the half-horse Enkidu missed the steppe and wanted to go back. When he left Gilgamesh got sad and went looking for him.
Enkidu first cursed the women and the hunter who were the cause of him leaving the steppe in the first place and after that one of the gods told him that he shouldn’t do that because if he had never left he would have never met the palace life. Gilgamesh found him and convinced him to go back to the castle.
Enikdu retold his dream to Gilgamesh and in his dream he was vanquished to the Underground. When he told him that he had to write his name onto a clay tablet Gilgamesh knew that something bad was about to happen to his friend. He advised Enkidu to make a sacrifice to the gods.
The gods gave an order to them to kill a guardian of a forest and they succeeded in their task but afterwards Enkidu had a strange dream again and Gilgamesh thought that it meant that Enkidu will defeat his enemy. The next night he had the same strange dream and then Gilgamesh thought that it was the perfect timing to go to the Cedar forest and kill Humbaba.
They came back to the town like winners carrying the head of the monstrous god Humbaba on a spear. Then a ritual wash of Gilgamesh took place and he received new clothes. Gilgamesh caught Ishtars eye and she offered herself to be his lover but he rejected her. She was so hurt that she asked her father to send a bull from the sky and kill Gilgamesh. With Enkidu’s help Gilgamesh defeated the bull.
Ishtar was furious while the whole town was celebrating with Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Enkidu then told another dream of his. He was carried by an eagle who let go of him and Enkidu smashed to the ground. Both of them realized that ENkidu was no longer in the mercy of the gods.
Enkidu was struck by a horrible fever and he spent 12 days sick. He knew death was coming for him. In the end he died and Gilgamesh mourned him for 6 days and night and on the 7 day he buried him. Then he went to the steppe and told the hunter that he is sad about his friends death and frightened by his own.
Gilgamesh was so afraid of dying that he decided to find the eternal life and because of that he looked for Utnapishtim and he managed to find him after a long journey.
Firstly he arrived to the Garden of gods where a goddess told him to stop looking for eternal life because humans were born to die. He was persistent and when he came to Utnapishtim he warned him that it was not possible for a human to have an eternal life. Utnapishtim told him the story of his immortality. He survived a big flood and then a god made him immortal.
Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that an herb existed at the bottom of the sea. Her power was the power of immortality. He found the herb but did not eat it. He wanted to give it to others in the city but while he was bathing a snake took his herb and he came back to Uruk empty handed.
He wanted to visit his friend’s ghost in the Underground but couldn’t manage to find him. A god had mercy upon him and let his speak to the shadow of his friend. He did not reveal the secret to the eternal life to him but he did told him that he would be devastated if he found out the secret.
Gilgamesh had another question but the shadow disappeared. When he came to the city he lied in the temple and died there.