When it comes to the history of Gilgamesh then the most important aspect that has to be discussed was his power. People in the history often believed that Gilgamesh was actually one third of a human and two third of a god due to his mother being a goddess and father the priest-king. The image that is being depicted in the old tale “The Epic of Gilgamesh” depicts the power of Gilgamesh in two parts first the power use that were actually misused in every way and the second in which he ask for mortality and then rule the Uruk for lifetime. The concept behind the literature is to analyze two aspects, first one is to understand the power of men which is misused by them and the second one is that through this power often women are considered as the object for men to show their nature of leadership, authority and their desire to get what they want until the end of life. The misuse of power can also be seen from the fact that the god rapes all the females irrespective of their social class. The fact of the matter is that desperation of power and authority is shown in this through showing how men use sex as a tool to show their dominance in the society. Men think of themselves in a position where losing or failure is not an option for them, and they may use wrongful means to achieve their desires. (Mason, 2003)
Gilgamesh is a powerful man and the problem with his misuse of power was that he was cruel and also arrogant in nature, it is often thought that this aspect is found in every men but when you use this power and attitude to achieve everything that you want then it is not a correct approach and with this attitude of Gilgamesh every person of Uruk were disappointed and upset. They were not living a life of their own but were suppressed and oppressed by Gilgamesh due to his powers. The misuse of power of Gilgamesh does not stop here but he often “proclaim his right to have sexual intercourse with all new brides” which according to moral obligation and pious character is not right and acceptable. The series of events show that Gilgamesh is misusing his high power and authority on the females. People pray for help from God and thus it leads to the birth of Enkidu which god sent for bringing Gilgamesh on the right track. (historyonthenet.com, 2017)
Enkidu was a wild man and he in the start was living in the rural wilds with animals and thus he had no civilization trait as that of normal human beings. He was then “partiality civilized” by Shamhat who was priest but in my opinion the approach he used to make him civilized was not that correct and civilized itself. Although he taught him many good things but including the aspect of seduction and sex was not a good deed and approach. The gods formed Enkidu with the purpose to bring Gilgamesh down due to his wrong morals in his governance. The purpose was that Enkidu would bring Gilgamesh to the right side but after Enkidu died this was a source of great stress for Gilgamesh. Enkidu played an important part in bringing Gilgamesh closer to the noble side, and his death started his struggle to achieve immortality in his life.
Enkidu was very close to Gilgamesh and his death worried him for his death. He wanted to gain mortality so that death cannot touch him but in real terms it cannot happen. It is revealed that despite the efforts man tries to become immortal the fact is that fact does not have this ability. What become immortal in this world are the deeds that one leaves behind in his world.
The fact is that Gilgamesh was not ready to leave everything behind in the world and he wanted to defeat death so that nothing would set up apart from achieving his desire of being immortal. No one desires their loved ones to die and being immortal gives rise to the perception of evading death, which is actually fictional and not possible. He was worried from death as from inside he knew he has not done anything right and this feared him more. He misused his power to be arrogant to other and give rise to intimate relationships with women in immoral way.
Because there is a human nature to achieve desires at whatever cost, they tend to misuse their authority and power. The misuse of power can also be seen from the fact that the god rapes all the females irrespective of their social class. The fact of the matter is that desperation of power and authority is shown in this through showing how men use sex as a tool to show their dominance in the society. Men think of themselves in a position where losing or failure is not an option for them, and they may use wrongful means to achieve their desires. The situation already shows how man is using his position over women in order to show a superior position but Gilgamesh is also making efforts to defy death as well. This aspect is clearly depicted in the life history of Gilgamesh and Enkidu in which Enkidu can help Gilgamesh to back moral and ethical life but in my opinion he also failed. In his training to be civilized he was also shown sex as a civilized way thus he was not able to bring Gilgamesh on track. (sparknotes.com, n.a.) I personally have the opinion that Enkidu was better in wild life as after coming to being civilized what he learned was only sex and how to misuse powers from Gilgamesh instead of bringing him on the right and pious way.
The root of the problem goes down to the fact that the desires in this world are based on materialistic things and this is what causes the evil in the world. Man looks for pleasure in materialistic things and this is what eventually directs a man to become immortal in life. There is a desire for man to achieve the best and be on the top and this has played an important role in suppressing the women in the society by giving more power to the men. Gilgamesh’s character also shows similar traits of dominance and this is also because he possesses the power of two third of a god and he suppresses the women in the society by exploiting them sexually. Gilgamesh’s character is also shown with a very positive impression as well by depicting that once on the righteous path you can achieve the much high rate of happiness and satisfaction level.
Enkidu’s character can be better in the way in which he should have taught Gilgamesh the right rule of leading a village as a king but his death did show Gilgamesh the right path. The character of Enkidu is depicting high moral values but they were not transmitted well to Gilgamesh. Enkidu’s character is shown in this literature as quite supportive where he guides people with truth and morals. All the characters depicted in the story show that achieving immortality is not possible for any living creatures except god itself. The real mortality to achieve in this world is to stay alive in the hearts even after leaving this world. This is the kind of mortality that people should actually be seeking instead of running after the materialistic desires that will not be remembered in this world. (Parpola, 1997)
If we look at the Gilgamesh’s character in today’s life then we may observe many people like this who use their power as their status symbol and have all the privileges of life. A person who has authority and power thinks himself as a superior and this brings unusual pride in his character that is not right morally. It is nature of human beings to show their authoritative position and try to show them immortal in front of others. It is the inner desire and desperation of human beings that actually lead them in wrongful and immoral behavior and attitudes. The story shows that Gilgamesh tried to use his power and position to suppress others in the society and his desire to become immortal actually left him empty handed towards the end. The author has used the females as a sex object quite often and there is no doubt in the fact that women’s position is portrayed quite negatively in this story. Women are shown as objects of satisfaction and this is evident from the fact that Gilgamesh rapes women in order to prove a superior position and this can have a very negative influence on the readers as well. In today’s era also in media women are shown as sexual objects and thus promoting this aspect and thought of Gilgamesh in today’s era also which in return is misguiding our young generation and also suppressing women more in the society.
The characters in the story show both negative and positive roles throughout the story. The negative element shows how they depicted aggressiveness in their behavior. Gilgamesh’s character on one hand showed how he would often get angry and would also behave against the law of nature that was quite immoral. On the other hand his character also showed a positive aspect because of his affiliation with Enkidu and how he was influenced by his presence. Enkidu played an important role in altering Gilgamesh’s character by guiding him towards moral acts and this is a very important bond that is also present between god and his followers. Enkidu and Gilgamesh showed a relationship of love and trust however this source of happiness soon turned into grief when Enkidu died and left Gilgamesh alone. Gilgamesh wanted to be immortal because he did not want others to grief over his death and hence he did not want to leave others saddened.
After losing Enkidu Gilgamesh may also have the fear that he will also face death sooner or later. He must have thought that if a humble and pious person like Enkidu could die so early, then Gilgamesh’s character in contrast was quite evil and he would also have to taste death sooner or later. This story helped to make Gilgamesh realize more about life and death and that nothing is immortal in this world except god itself. One very important critical assessment of the story shows that the women are portrayed in a very negative manner and they are being used for sex only by Gilgamesh. Women are not shown any kind of respect in this story and they are portrayed in a way that men are shown as more superior to them.
This story was a very interesting read for me as it helped me to look at things from different angles and perspective. A lot of the concepts discussed in the book can be easily related to what is happening in the world today. For instance the world today is more materialistic than it was before and this is also because of awareness and easy access we have today. Today it is easy for people to differentiate between right and wrong and this is because people have more ways to discover the truth. There are many examples mentioned in the book that we also see today and the main moral I take away from this story is that no one can ever be mortal in the world, what is mortal is our actions and kindness that will stay here forever.