Gilgamesh was a hero, seeking the meaning of life. He was a classic hero, one that represented an ideal picture of his culture. In this novel, he tries to come to the terms of life and death, really trying to understand it. King of earth, god and man, Gilgamesh was still unable to find what he was looking for. He soon met Enkidu, a man but more animal. He was ignorant but had no fear or wisdom. These two soon became great friends, and went on the journey to the Cedar forest and had said that life really is too short.
Death is an inevitable and inescapable fact of human life, which is a lesson Gilgamesh soon learned. He is bitter that only the gods can live forever and says as much when Enkidu warns him away from their fight with Humbaba. Mesopotamian’s dogma offers a vision of an afterlife, but believed that the dead spend their time being dead. If Gilgamesh’s quest to the Cedar Forest was in spite of death, his second quest, to Utnapishtim, is for a way to escape it. Gilgamesh and Enkidu learn all too well that the gods are dangerous for mortals.
There are many obstacles that these men endure during their journey. One of the many differences between Gilgamesh and Enkidu would be When the temple prostitute seduces Enkidu, he loses his animal attributes but gains his self-consciousness and his humanity. The theirs Gilgamesh; who has no afterlife to look forward to and no moral ideal to aspire to. Although he may not know, really Gilgamesh’s many journeys mirror his internal journey to become a selfless and devoted king.
Sadly along this journey Gilgamesh looses Enkidu andgrieves heavily over the loss, and made a decision to find the key to everlasting life. The loss of a great friend and the thought of mortality were to much for Gilgamesh to bear. He tried hard to understand why one would both to stay on earth to end up in a terrible afterlife. He soon tried to become immortal like the gods. His answers to the questions of life and death on his journey were soon answered by Siduri, the wine-maker then tells him that immortality is for the gods alone so he should find the joy in life.
But Gilgamesh was not happy with these answers, and struggled on. Finally he finds Utnapishtim and his wife. These two were the survivors of the Great Flood and have been given the gift of immortality. As told in the tale, they tell him of the flower of everlasting life. Gilgamesh then goes to find it to only loses it to the sneaky serpent, by this time he realized immortality is lost. At this point in the story I had understood the meaning of what is was all about; it had to be my favorite part.
In the end Gilgamesh has indeed traveled where no others had traveled before. He was able to hold the secret to everlasting life in his hand for a brief moment, and he has lived to tell about it, which is a great achievement. Gilgamesh finds that the key to life is to live. Siduri was right, but Gilgamesh had to live and lose in order to realize it. Death is inevitable and immortality truly is reserved only for the gods. One must take advantage of all that life has to offer otherwise life isn’t worth living for death will soon come.