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The Futility of Seeking to Defy Mortality in “the Epic of Gilgamesh”

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The Futility of Seeking to Defy Mortality in “The Epic of Gilgamesh” Gilgamesh, the protagonist of “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, decides to embark on a quest to obtain immortality after his companion Enkidu perishes due to a sickness inflicted by the assembly of gods. After witnessing his dear friend die in such a grim manner he is reminded that he is mortal and that someday he too will succumb to death’s embrace. The thought of this terrifies him so he sets out to find Utnapishtim who survived the flood and became the only mortal to ever be granted ageless immortality. In my opinion, Gilgamesh’s most critical mistake which prevented him from becoming immortal was the actual quest for eternal life itself. It is because of the fact that our time on Earth is limited that makes life worthwhile and gives meaning to the events that occur during throughout it. Just about all of the different characters that Gilgamesh encounters in this adventure all try to convince him that his objective is not meant to be attainable by mortals. The divine wine-maker, Siduri, attempts to convey this by saying to Gilgamesh “You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping” (Sandars 102). In a similar vein Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh “There is no permanence. Do we build a house to stand forever? Do we seal a contract to hold for all time?” (Sandars 106-107). In my eyes, this relates the bitter truth that everything that has a beginning also has an end. No matter how sound the logic was of the advice given to him he always dismissed it and the effect of this was an extremely long, wearying, and fruitless journey full of suffering and arduousness in which he never acquired what he sought.

In conclusion, I feel as though this aspect of “The Epic of…...

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