Ishtar's Existentialism In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Drenched in blood, love, and the gods, The Epic of Gilgamesh, an archaeologist oddity, is far more than a marker for the world’s first literary work. Discovered as twelve clay tablets and later translated by an Englishman, George Smith, it revealed just how similar our modern day world is to the ancient Mesopotamia (Bose). Although hidden beneath the gory details, true existential references hide, allowing society’s hold on the importance of the meaning of life to shine through since the fundament of time; the deeper meaning of existentialism is held in its very story, the heroes, and the representation of death (Sadigh). Throughout the epic, the existential philosophies is empathized with the recurring, profound theme between the divine and…show more content…
In his companionship with a mortal he is confronted with the conflict between divine interference and earthly life. He is both god and human. However, Gilgamesh’s choice to explore life with a mortal friend has consequences for his people as seen in Ishtar’s sending of the Bull of Heaven. Once Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh is tormented by the abstraction of death. Out of fear from having no knowledge of the meaning of death, Gilgamesh leaves Uruk on a pilgrimage in search of immortality. It can be argued that Gilgamesh was not looking to live forever; instead he wanted to know the meaning of death in context of the meaning of life (as life was familiar and knowable to him). After having found the immortal Uta-napishti, Gilgamesh discovers that life, death, and the afterlife are interchangeable. In a moment of epiphany Gilgamesh says to Uta-napishti, “‘your form is no different, you are just like me’” (Gilg. 11. 3). His journey demystified and defaced death. Although he is abruptly robbed of immortality by the serpent, he returns to Uruk as king. His fury at the gods for taking Enkidu has quelled and, in turn, is at peace with his own

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