The Hero's Journey In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh goes through a transition of being an oppressive ruler and boastful man metamorphosing into a truly humble man who realizes his mortality cannot be changed, no matter how hard he tries. This realization allows him to finally become a hero-- in the words of Joseph Campbell: “When we quit thinking primarily about our self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.” This transition can be divided into three main parts. The first part is Gilgamesh before the death of Enkidu, his friend, when he is not yet a hero. Even before Gilgamesh meets him, he is an oppressive ruler of his people and only cares about himself. When he meets Enkidu and realizes that he cannot beat him, he treats him as an equal. They adventure together, killing the guardian of the…show more content…
When Enkidu succumbs to his sickness and passes away, Gilgamesh mourns and journeys into the desert, depressed and confused. “I will let my hair grow long for your sake, I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion… Gilgamesh lamented; seven days and seven nights he wept for Enkidu, until the worm fastened on him” (31). His confidence in himself is lost, and he begins to realize his mortality. This starts his quest for immortality; he is selfish and leaves his entire kingdom just for himself trying to attain immortality, instead of worrying about everyone that needs help in his kingdom. “What my brother is now, that I shall be when I am dead. Because I am afraid of death I will go as best as I can to find Utnapishtum whom they call the Faraway, for he has entered the assembly of the gods” (31). He has still not fully become a true hero because he is still worrying about preserving himself, but is beginning to move into his final stage following the failure of his
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