The Human Condition In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Throughout “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” a variety of mysteries that relate to the nature of the human condition are addressed. A recurring theme throughout the Epic, and one that is difficult to explain, is Gilgamesh’s irrational and immature behavior. Even though Gilgamesh has the potential to lead a very good life, he chooses to abuse his power, and is frequently discontent. An observation of almost any other creature in the world will show that humans significantly differ from animals in that they refuse to be content with something good; they always seem to be looking for a way for things to be better, frequently to a fault. This human characteristic of never being content is strange, and is the cause of Gilgamesh’s appalling behavior. TALK…show more content…
Enkidu, who has animalistic features, and is “innocent to mankind,” was content to eat grass, and live among the animals surrounding him [CITATION]. Even though Enkidu was considered Gilgamesh’s equal, he was not tempted to pleasure himself by harming others like Gilgamesh was; he actually worked to save the animals living among him [CITATION]. It was only when a source of temptation (the harlot) was put directly in front of Enkidu and beckoned to him that Enkidu allowed his human instincts to kick in, at which point he “possessed” the harlot’s body [CITATION]. In doing so, Enkidu gave up the lifestyle he was content with by attempting to make his life better through short-lived pleasure. This event foreshadows the fate of both Gilgamesh and Enkidu when they journey through the forest later in the story, and serves to reinforce the idea that humans have an insatiable desire to make situations better for the short-term, even when they have the potential to be content for extended periods of…show more content…
Gilgamesh, determined to do as his “destiny decreed,” says that he must find a way to establish his name “stamped on bricks,” and set up his name “in the place where the names of famous men are written” [CITATION]. While the improvements the timber would be used for could benefit the people of Uruk, Gilgamesh is not concerned about his people’s quality of life; he only wants to ensure that his name lasts for generations. Gilgamesh’s desire to leave a tangible mark of remembrance among the same people he raped and killed reinforces the idea that his continuous desire for a more lavish lifestyle causes him to act in the way he does. While the people of Uruk are quite obviously victims of Gilgamesh’s actions, Gilgamesh himself is as well, as his reckless pursuit of amusement causes him to anger some of the

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