3-1-3 English Honors
Mrs. Van Lare
February 21, 2010
The Changes of Gilgamesh
At the beginning of the epic Gilgamesh is an arrogant king who frequently abuses his power. Gilgamesh is full of himself and believes he can do whatever he wants throughout his land including having sex with all the virgins before they are married. He grows used to the comfortable position assuming just because he is part god he can go along getting away with all this because no one ever challenges him or tries to stop him. It’s a carefree almost causeless Gilgamesh that we are introduced to, to start the epic.
When Enkidu first comes to town he runs into the aforementioned Gilgamesh, the big bully dummy head and challenges him to fight. Gilgamesh of course accepts, the duo fight furiously but eventually Gilgamesh gains the upper hand and Enkidu yields. This is when Gilgamesh’s’ first major change occurs. I believe his fight with Enkidu serves as a wakeup call so to say which causes Gilgamesh to set aside his adolescence style behavior and really gives him a sense of purpose, that he should be doing something with his life as this all powerful king. Gilgamesh stops acting so childish and embarks on a quest to slay the great Humbaba and cut down the Cedar Forest. Gilgamesh becomes a much more understandable, likeable and reasonable character throughout these next few scenes in the book I felt.
... with anyone. Finally the two fight, resulting in a victory to Gilgamesh. Enkidu becomes his faithful friend. This fight and the formation of a ... you really begin to notice a kind of dependency of Enkidu for Gilgamesh. He seems to really fit the profile of the ... of this epic is heavily based upon the character of Gilgamesh and Enkidu and how their character affected one another through the ...
The next major change occurs when Gilgamesh’s close friend Enkidu is stricken ill and eventually dies per the will of the Gods. Enkidu was such a powerful ally, being created as an “equal” of Gilgamesh, that his death causes great concern and even fear of death for Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh changes at this point into living the rest of his life scared; he becomes obsessed with his quest for immortality. Gilgamesh is willing to do anything that is possible to obtain his goal, he goes so far as to cross the ocean and eventually reach the mighty Utnapishtim. However he was so tireless in his search that when charged with the task of staying awake for six straight days he immediately falls asleep. Causing his lucrative and mad quest for immortality to a close much to his anguish.
In conclusion Gilgamesh is a very dynamic protagonist, he experiences some changes throughout the epic and I tried to touch on the 2 major ones. Gilgamesh starts the epic as an incredibly unlikeable bully of a king, goes to a semi likeable guy who’s out adventuring with his good friend, and finally into a death fearing “mad man”. He takes some interesting turns along the way and it was a very interesting character development to watch play out, in the end however I found myself never really being a big fan of Gilgamesh the character.