The Internal Journey of Gilgamesh
In ancient Mesopotamia there was a human of great powers. His name was Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is an ancient tale passed down orally from generation to generation in mesopotamia. David Ferry writes this version. The author reconstructs the epic tale on the ancient Mesopotamian ways of friendship, gods and goddesses, and immortality. The tales follow Gilgamesh on very dangerous journeys across ancient mesopotamia. Some symbolic battles are those with Huwawa, the demon of the beautiful Cedar forest, the bull of heaven which was sent by the goddess Ishtar in disgust, and the journey to Utnapishtim?s enormous compound. Through each battle and journey Gilgamish shows unique characteristics of humans and immortals in ancient Misopotamia. This particular poem is left open for different interpretation. For example, the tablets only tell that Gilgamish had died; however they never tell the reader how Gilgamesh had died. These tales unfold to new adventures and new lesson of life. These tales are ancient, but still help our learning of friendship, the relationship between gods and goddesses and the undefined definition of immortality.
Gilgamish was the king and the most powerful human in Mesopotamia. His oppression towards the humans was irrational. Therefore the gods, who extremely disliked Gilgamesh for his actions, created a human who could perhaps destroy Gilgamesh. This human?s name is Enkidu. He was born to the world as wild as the animals that roamed in the forests. A woman named Shamhat had powers that weakened the powers of Enkidu by sexual activity. After Enkidu agrees to have sexual intercourse with Shamhat his powers vanish. After Enkidu loses his powers, Shamhat agrees to show him the city and Gilgamish, the only man worthy of his friendship. They met when enkidu rejects Gilgameshs’ tax on newly weds. They immediately battle after Enkidu blocks Gilamishs? entrance into his kingdom. They then become great friends. Teamed up they then battle Huwawa, the demon of the Cedar Forest. Enkidu mentally supports Gilgamesh and through his encouragement Gilgamesh is able to chop off Huwawas? head. They experience life together, and are willing to die for each other. Together they battle, the bull of Heaven, and defeat him. After the death of the demon and the death of the bull the gods decide to punish one. They punish Enkidu and sent him to hell. This shows how the ancient ways of Mesopotamian friendship was because Gilgameshs? present to Enkidu a memorial statue. This proves that the only friend Gilgamesh really had was Enkidu. They lived and died for each other. Through the battles they supported each other. This is a way of ancient Misopotamian ways. The death of someone you care about is left with a memorial, so the friendship would last forever.
In ancient Mesopotamian time gods controlled the humans, they were the makers of the humans. Therefore what ever the gods wanted to subject the humans to they could. Humans had to respect the gods, if they didn?t the possibility of destruction could happen. Gods play a vital role in the lives of all humans. They create and destroy, and wanted constant respect from all the humans. Any human who didn?t respect the gods would be introduced to great destruction. They could have been individual of they could have been worldwide destruction. The humans expected the gods to look after them in exchange for constant respect. The gods protected the humans from people such as Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh learned the true value of friendship. For example when Gilgamesh traveled to Utnapishtims? kingdom and failed the test, Utnapishtims? immortal wife told Gilgamesh where he could obtain immortality. He had to eat a weed from the bottom of the sea. However he didn?t trust her. Then when he was resting in the forest a snake ate the plant and eventually he died. He never obtained immortality and all of his travels and journeys were for nothing. He changed when he returned to the cedar gates of Uruk, and finally understood that his life was to end. He found pleasure in his kingdom, but knew he was going to die and lived his life to the fullest.