Good King, Bad Kind Gilgamesh existed as one of the oldest known Sumerian rulers of all time and is accredited to many accomplishments. Legend has it that he created the first Sumerian civilization, constructing a city with many elaborate temples and immense walls. However, he has also been characterized as one of the cruelest and most self-centered rulers of all. Throughout the course of Gilgamesh’s life he goes from being a womanizing, slave driving ruler to a negligent and stubborn king, who not even god-sent Enkidu could help transform into a better king.
At first, Gilgamesh is a controlling and arrogant king, who thinks only of himself. He constantly works the men, building enormous walls surrounding the entire kingdom and countless temples. He “leaves no virgin to her lover” (62) no matter who she was, young or old. Additionally, he takes away the children so that “no son is left with his father” (62).
Gilgamesh treats his people with such disrespect that they begin to complain about him to the gods. When Anu, the god of firmament, hears the people’s lamentations he goes to Aruru, the goddess of creation saying, “You made him, O Aruru, now create his equal” (62).
The people and the gods felt that if Gilgamesh had someone equal to him in strength and power that they would compete together leaving the city of Uruk in peace. Therefore, in reply to the grievances of the gods and people Enkidu is sent down to earth. Enkidu himself, though, could not even save Gilgamesh and his kingship. After Ishtar helped Enkidu become a human Enkidu travels to Uruk and challenges Gilgamesh to a battle. The two immediately become companions because Gilgamesh finally finds his match. They set off on an adventure to destroy the cedar forest and its guardian, Hum baba, all to be forever remembered.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are both similar and different in many ways. Some of their traits affect each other throughout the course of the plot, whether it be their actions or their character. Gilgamesh, a king who is two-thirds god and one-third human, begins in the story as a very arrogant and tyrannic man. The gods gave him every reason to be when they endowed with a perfect body, wealth, power, and ...
Gilgamesh appears to be improving his ways and not exasperating his people. However, Gilgamesh then takes his journey to be remembered one step too far and kills the bull of heaven. This infuriates the gods so greatly that they decide that one out of Gilgamesh and Enkidu must pay for their actions. The gods therefore bestow a deadly illness upon Enkidu, which brings about his death. Enkidu’s death devastates Gilgamesh, for he not only loses his best friend, but also comes to the realization that he soon too will die. Not only does Gilgamesh lose his best friend, but he also comes to the realization that he will also die some day.
Thus, Gilgamesh decides to seek out immortality so he will not have to endure death. Gilgamesh sets out on his journey for immortality, leaving his kingdom and people behind to fend for themselves. He starts to become self-seeking just as he had before. He spends every waking moment searching for immortality only to benefit himself. The whole purpose of the journey itself is so that Gilgamesh can gain immortality for himself and be remembered forever.
He doesn’t realize that his people are off on there own with no king to control the empire. Even when returning from the journey he “engraved on a stone the whole story” (117).
He does not take the time see if his people survived or find out what took place during his absence. Gilgamesh merely chisels his voyage down onto stone tablets and then passes away of old age.
Once again its all about Gilgamesh and nobody else, just as he once used to be. Gilgamesh begins his kingship as a horrendous ruler. The Gods try and help him improve by sending Enkidu, but nothing can save Gilgamesh from his ego. No matter what takes place in his life it all reverts back to him and him gaining immortality in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, by the end of Gilgamesh’s life he still remains the violating, vindictive king he once was.
... serpent steals the plant of immortality from Gilgamesh. In both stories the snake is connected with life and death, a very common and ... the prayers of the oppressed people, the sky-god Anu sent a beastly antagonist to challenge Gilgamesh, the half-animal Enkidu. Yet he is stripped ... to protect his life. While the exact details of the journey to the Forest are lost in the fires of antiquity, ...