Mortality And Friendship In Herbert Mason's The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh begins by introducing Gilgamesh, king of the Sumerian City of Uruk. Initially, Gilgamesh is a tyrant, hated by all, but throughout this tale, he transforms not only into a great leader but a great friend. Through imagery, theme, and foreshadow, Herbert Mason explores issues of mortality and friendship. Though this story has no real happy ending, it serves as a cautionary tale to man throughout all time, by identifying themes that can be applied to all forms of life. Through imagery, this verse narrative helps the reader visualize more realistically what the characters are going through. From beginning to end, Gilgamesh is filled with excellent description that tickles the reader’s sensory receptors. Enkidu is created to tame the tyrant Gilgamesh and soon after he is tamed by a prostitute. From this, he loses innocence and realizes he is no longer welcome in the animal kingdom. “He felt a strange exhaustion, as if life had left his body...he imagined the gazelles raising the dry dust like soft brush floating on the crests of sand swiftly changing direction...his friends had left him to a vast aloneness” (Mason pg.18). With…show more content…
Whatever he does, he thinks about Enkidu and the fact that he will never be able to live with his best pal again. He proceeds to seek out the wise man Utnapishtim, we know him by his biblical name, Noah, who has been rewarded immortality by the gods. He journeys past scorpion-men, through an endless darkness, over a sea of death to find Utnapishtim’s island and learn the secret of immortality; which is a thorny plant that grows in the bottom of a river. It is kind of ironic that the plants roots bury themselves into the underworld, but grants a safeguard from it. Unfortunately, when Gilgamesh finds the shimmering thorny plant, he doesn’t take enough care of it and loses all possibility of regaining his friend and escaping death to a

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