A Wise King Or Essay Research Paper

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A Wise King Or Essay, Research Paper A Wise King Or A Foolish Hero? Gilgamesh is a character that evolves throughout the epic of Gilgamesh. Throughout the first half of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as courageous and heroic on a quest of terror with his great companion Enkidu. In the end after accepting that he too will have to die and be subject to fate, Gilgamesh settles back into his city setting, only this time to be a wise king rather than the foolish hero he once was. Gilgamesh?s character is something a reader might question after reading the first half of the epic, because Gilgamesh is forceful and acts as if he answers to no one. Another characteristic of Gilgamesh?s personality is his dependency on companionship from Enkidu. Early in the epic it is shown how

sovereign the people think Gilgamesh?s rule is: ?There was no withstanding the aura or power of the Wild Ox Gilgamesh. Neither the father?s son nor the wife of the noble; neither the mother?s daughter nor the warrior?s bride was safe.?(I ii 31-34) This passage proves the people know he is a strong man. It also shows us that the people do not find it surprising if Gilgamesh starts to become involved with another man?s wife. Another time, we find Gilgamesh is going to take the bride of a man if Enkidu does not intervene and stop him (II&III iii 60-70). These are only a few of the times Gilgamesh?s character loses its status among the readers. Actions similar to these also made the elders question his leadership: ?Is this the shepherd of the people? Is this the wise shepherd,

protector of the people??(I ii 35-36) They obviously thought he was not up to par in his duties as a king. It is surprising that with a person as dictating and forceful as Gilgamesh, he still longs for and needs human companionship. We see he will have a companion that will not forsake him when Gilgamesh?s dream is interpreted by his mom.(I iv 166-179) Even though we know this toward the beginning, the importance of his companionship is not apparent until Enkidu is dying and Gilgamesh says, ?Must I now sit outside the door of the house of the dead? While Enkidu sits in the house of the dead among the shadow companions?? (VII ii 21-24) The sudden death of Enkidu causes Gilgamesh to ponder something he hasn?t been forced to think about before: His vulnerability to death. Gilgamesh

treasures this friend so much he does not know what to do without him. Looking to fill this whole he has after Enkidu?s companionship is gone, Gilgamesh turns to a quest seeking immortality to conquer death: something Enkidu had not been able to do. We find Gilgamesh?s quest to let nothing overpower him a reoccurring theme throughout the epic. Gilgamesh shows this early on in his violent immoral acts against his people. Another time this theme is displayed when Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the cedars, kill the demon Huwawa, and especially when Gilgamesh makes Ishtar mad enough to send down the Bull of Heaven. In all these instances Gilgamesh answers the foe with another victory. Even when a goddess has sent down ?the Bull of Heaven with which to kill him?(VI ii 83) Gilgamesh

overcomes it. After Enkidu?s death Gilgamesh is faced with something that can overpower him: death. Since he has this newfound hindrance, Gilgamesh sets out to overcome the last thing that can overpower him. There is one person in history that defeated fate and mortality, so Gilgamesh seeks to find Utnapishtim and be enlightened by him. After Gilgamesh?s long quest to find Utnapishtim, Utnapishtim proves to Gilgamesh there is no way he can become immortal by testing Gilgamesh. Utnapishtim says to Gilgamesh, ?Tell me, who would bring all the gods together so that for you they might in council decide what your deserving is, that you be granted admittance into the company of gods??(XI v 240-243) Utnapishtim said this because he knew there would be no one of importance stand up and