Exploring the Epic of Gilgamesh

One of the primary functions of this Blogsite is to encourage students to think about and explore a given text assigned for class on their own before we work together in class to make sense out of the story.  The second blogpost of the semester is designed with that task in mind, as I want you to articulate some preliminary thoughts about the complex Epic of Gilgamesh, which is viewed by many experts as perhaps the earliest masterpiece of world literature.  To variously explore this wonderful story, I want you to do two things (in at least one paragraph for each part): 

1)  The first myths we studied this semester were various myths of creation and destruction, which are far shorter than the Gilgamesh legend, and also come from far different times, places, and cultures.  Yet there is meaning to be found when bringing these diverse early myths into conversation with the ancient mythical roots of Mesopotamia.  For part one, then, I’d like you to consider similarities and differences between the shorter creation and destruction myths and the far longer Epic of Gilgamesh.  What might get revealed about the differences between early “epic” and “myth” by comparing, for example, the trials and tribulations faced by Gilgamesh with the Biblical story of creation?  To really explore such issues, please compare Gilgamesh to a single creation/destruction myth of your choosing, and then pick two characters (one from each text) and compare/contrast them.  What does this interaction suggest about the characters themselves, and more importantly, about key elements of each myth (if not their respective societies)?  What does your comparison reveal about the two works, and the two different types of work in question (i.e. epic vs. myth) ?? 

2)  For your second section, I’d like you to draw very precisely on some of our earlier work in class, specifically our foundational classwork on the all-important theories of Aristotle (on tragedy) and Joseph Campbell (on the “monomyth” of the hero).  For Part Two, then, I would like you to carefully and critically apply the ideas of these thinkers to The Epic of Gilgamesh.  If you are interested in the key notions of Aristotle, you might show how the plot of this epic masterpiece fits certain “tragic” modes (such as leading toward a kind of “catharsis”), or attempt to view Gilgamesh (or perhaps Enkidu) as a kind of “tragic hero” according to the terms laid out by Aristotle.  On the other hand, you might tell us about how Campbell’s theories regarding the hero’s quest (i.e. separation – initiation – return) help us to understand the journey undertaken by Gilgamesh.  Overall, what key ideas or issues get raised through a careful application of the ideas of Aristotle and/or Campbell’s to this fascinating Mesopotamian epic?

22 thoughts on “Exploring the Epic of Gilgamesh

  1. 1) One similarity between this epic and the creation myths is that they both show the creation of man. For example in the Judeo-Christian creation myth, God created Adam with nothing but his hands and dust. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Aruru created Enkidu with clay and spit. And I believe that’s where the similarities end with these two texts. In the epic, Enkidu was made by the goddess of creation and in the other Adam was created by an all-powerful god, not specifically for creation. Also Adam was portrayed as an innocent man who became corrupted because of Eve. And Enkidu was this strong mighty man who became a little weaker because of Shamat.

    2) I believe that Gilgamesh could be seen as a tragic hero. Although at the beginning he wasn’t the most relatable, after becoming friends with Enkidu his character became much more likable. His fatal flaw might be his selfishness, the only reason he wanted to defeat Humbaba was for praise for his heroism. His downfall occurred after Enkidu’s death. He wore hairy animal skins, didn’t bathe and was worn with grief. I believe the key ideas raised through Aristotle’s tragic hero archetype in this epic is relationships and death. And how these two things can drastically change one’s life.

  2. Noah and Gilgamesh are similar because they and people close to them were allowed to be safe throughout the flood. Noah was allowed to bring his entire family and even the wives of his children, but Upnapishtim could only bring his wife. They also had to make sure to have a couple of every species of animal so that they could reproduce.
    In the myth of Noah’s ark, he was allowed to bring many people that were close to him to avoid the flood but in the Epic of Gilgamesh Utnapishtim could only bring his wife. This reflects the theme of solitude in the Epic of Gilgamesh. There are never more than a pair of 2 characters in the Epic. In Epic’s there seems to be a much larger tone of negative emotions, and in the end the emotions may not be worth much. But in the myth of Noah’s Ark there are more resolutions and conflict between the multiple members of people who are surviving on the ship.

    Gilgamesh is a tragic hero because he fits the qualities of being of a noble birth and has a tragic flaw which is being cruel to other people, especially women. He was beautiful, strong and very intelligent which also gives him the quality of having greatness. Gilgamesh’s tragedy is that he loses his closest friend which he had so many important moments with for doing something that he (Gilgamesh) did. His action also was unfairly punished, he rejected someone and had his friend killed for it. To compare the separation – initiation – return aspect to Gilgamesh we can see that Gilgamesh was separated from Enkidu and the initiation was the long journey he made to Utnapishtim. The return was when he came back to Uruk realizing that it is ok that we are all mortal, because the impact we have on the future to make it a great place is special.

  3. The difference between Gilgamesh and creation myths is that creation myths have different beginnings. For example in the china creation myth , cosmic egg and yin yang, everything started from an egg that contained chaos. In the Gilgamesh myth, Gilgamesh was created from two powerful parents. Also the epic myth contains some type of story where the main character has some type of hamartia. In this case, Gilgamesh is very conceited. In the China creation myth, there is just an explanation more than a storyline to how the world came to be. Similarities between the myths are the archetype. Usually both creation myths and the epic have someone who can make someone from nothing. For example Aruru created end Enkidu from clay and spit.

    Gilgamesh can be seen as a tragic Hero. He had a tragic flaw which was his arrogance and selfishness due to the amount of power he had. In the story he was not likeable and hero-like which doesn’t fit the tragic hero plot. In the end he did show more traits of having a heart and actually caring for someone but himself. His appearance also changed during his grieving period for Enkidu which is probably like the tragic ending that is common in these stories. Tragic hero stories like Gilgamesh also have the hero end the same or worse then when they started which is clearly shown in this myth. Overall there are similarities in the archetype, plot, and message of tragic hero myths.

  4. The stories of Gilgamesh were very long and had to do with a character named Gilgamesh who was 2/3 god and 1/3 mortal. He was someone who was seen as a high figure at the time and was responsible for creating passes in mountains, he crossed oceans and was even the reason areas were restored after flooding. He was someone who can easily be compared to other famous religious beings of the past. For example, one that stuck out to me was the Aztec theory of creation. A difference is that the theory in the Aztec religion is that the parts of the ‘destructive force’ became certain things such as half of her body the sky, the other half the earth. But, in Gilgamesh, it was that he was responsible for creating the things and did not become them. There was a greater god in both who were seen to create either the world or certain aspects of it. This also occurred in the Mesopotamia creation myth where they defeated the ancient mother of primordial waters – much like Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeat Humbaba- and split her into different parts of the earth.

    The epic of Gilgamesh did a good job of displaying a somewhat version of the hero’s journey. The first area was him being a god type and was someone who was seen as superior to other kings. He would often mess with many women, especially those who were married. So, Anu created someone who could be his rival but instead ended up becoming his friend. He was then sent off to embark on a journey. He was taken from his home or the place he found comfort and thrown into a place that was foreign to him. He had to travel to defeat some sort of evil which again, follows the story of the monomyth. He then -along with Enkidu- defeats the evil and when they are brought back Enkidu is faced with a new rise in social status because of him bringing back Gilgamesh alive. These are ideas that relate to Campbell’s idea of the Monomyth and follow the same pattern.

  5. The short creation myth I am comparing to Gilamesh is the China Cosmic Yin and Yang. A similarity between the two is everyone looked at the main character as someone to follow. A difference between the two is Phan Ku created the world, lived forever, created mankind and when he died he became the world. Gilamesh was a very handsome being that built temples but was a corrupt leader. Both stories do talk about the creation of the society and how it came to be. The China myth has more explanation and gives reasoning for how the world has come to be.

    Gilamesh follows Aristotle’s heroes journey to an extent. He faces conflicts and has to battle monsters that are thrown at him because of his greedy actions. He doesn’t really find himself from the journey but his eyes are opened at the end. Gilamesh’s greed leads to his downfall, when he returns he comes back empty handed. It is only then he is able to reflect and realize being mortal isn’t a terrible thing. He can use this to grow his kingdom for the future and change it for the better.

  6. When it comes to comparing other creation and destruction myths versus the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are quiet a few differences and similarities to be noted. One obvious difference would be the length, the myths we read prior to Epic of Gilgamesh were only a paragraph or two at the most compared to the almost 30 page epic. Another difference is the fact it focuses on one main character, who is 2/3 God and 1/3 human. In most of the other myths, it focused in on the Gods/earth-divers and not really going into much depth about the character like Gilgamesh. One myth that the Epic of Gilgamesh indisputably relates to is from India and the story of Manu. In the story of Manu, he is the only man to survive the drastic flood and receives supernatural help. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ut-napishtim receives a message from Ea about the flood and to prepare a boat as Manu received from Gasha, the great fish. They both built their boats and in the end survived by landing in the mountain. When it comes to myths versus epics, I feel like epics allow you to see more in depth with their characters and bring you along through the creation and destruction of these said characters.

    In the Epic of Gilgamesh, you can closely follow along with Josephs Campbells idea of the “monomyth” of the hero. Gilgamesh fits this idea of a “tragic hero”. He has this noble birth of being 2/3 God and 1/3 mortal, yet his arrogance makes drive people away. In the text it says “day and night his behavior was overbearing.” People complained to the point where the Gods heard. Later in the epic, you can see this change of heart as he mourns the death of Endiku and even as he fears death for himself realizing his own mortality.

  7. 1) The Chinese Myth about creation is very similar to this story, in this myth Phan Ku dies and all the different parts of his body scattered and created the earth and everything in it. In the story of Gilgamesh, him and Endiku destroy Humbaba and when he slew her all her remains were different parts of the earth. Endiku is similar to the Ying-Yang egg, this egg created Phan Ku just like how Endiku created Gilgamesh with spit and clay. However they are different because the egg created him and ended up creating the world and all its most important parts, and Endiku just created a human who would become a hero.This suggests how all myths are very similar and follow a very strict pattern especially creation myths, even though there are many different cultures they all have similar stories of how things were created.

    2) Gilgamesh definitely follows the tragic hero pattern, although he is not very likable especially at the beginning of the story because of his flaws. Him being presented this way at the beginning makes us feel like we cannot relate to him and that he won’t be the tragic hero we are expecting. However throughout the story as we meets Endiku and goes on this quest to defeat evil he becomes a lot more likable, he gets a love interest as well which makes us understand him more. He didn’t know better than being selfish and doing things for his own benefit but that’s why it’s hard to relate to his character like most tragic hero stories do. Although he redeems himself I think that this myth has a little bit of a difference because he isn’t always likable or relatable, his character actually makes us feel angry because he doesn’t deserve praise for doing things selfishly. Overall I would consider this a tragic hero myth.

  8. The Epic of Gilgamesh is different from creation myths in the way that creation myths generally begin in a different way. The Hindu creation myth is similar to the Epic of Gilgamesh in the way that the world is created by a divine being and their body. Although Brahma used his own body to create the world, and then Aruru created the world *inside* herself.

  9. Gilgamesh and Adam are two very similar characters as well as their stories. The similarity between the two is how they created life and earth. Adam discovered all of what God made, he names the animals, and reproduced to make the population. Gilgamesh discovered and searched the world in order to find more people. Another similarity between the story of Gilgamesh and Adam is the creation of life. God created Adam by breathing in the dust off of the while Aruru pinched off a piece of clay and created mankind.
    Gilgamesh in connection to what we have been working in the past week is the hero’s journey.He starts off as someone who then experiences the calling where from there he goes on through the departure, initiation, and return stage. The main ordeal of the situation is when he defeats the monster humbaba. this part also gives him the title of a tragic hero as he is someone who is a higher rank than most as well as his success in his battle.

  10. 1) One of the major similarities between this epic and the creation of myth is that they both go into detail about the creation of man. As we know, god created man, which in his story is Adam. He did so by using dust and soil, and giving it the breathe of life. While in Gilgamesh, one of the characters Aruru created man as well. He created Enkidu with clay and spit. Although the creation process was different, they have the same idea of created man and life in general. When comparing the two characters, they also have similarities and differences. Adam was seen to be innocent in the beginning when he was on his own. This later changed when Eve came along, and as we know he ate the fruit off the tree. They both however were created be a god of some kind, Enkidu was created by the goddess of creation. While Adam was created by god himself. Personality wise, Enkidu was seen as a strong figure until he later became weak towards the end of the tale.
    2) I feel like the epic Gilgamesh shows a hero’s journey. I think his tragic or fatal flaw is his selfishness. In the beginning the story doesn’t really match up with the layout of a hero’s journey. That being said he did have a downfall at some point. I believe this is when Enkidu died. He went into a deep sadness, and was grieving for a while. He didn’t take care of himself, walked around in a depressed state almost. He also had to defeat some sort of evil like most heroes do. That being said those are the few similarities that Gilgamesh’s epic has with the layout of a hero’s journey.

  11. One of the main differences I see between the creation myths and Gilgamesh is that Gilgamesh didn’t start from nothing. I found myself thinking about how they started out with so much instead of coming from nothing. The classic ‘myth’ elements are there, like creating the world via powerful being that holds much power, so the similarities are there. One of the biblical stories I would compare Gilgamesh to would be Adam and Eve straight away. The story of Adam and Eve states that God made Eve for Adam due to Adam’s loneliness. Gilgamesh’s friend was made for him (obviously for the reason of defeating him, but later became a companion) out of clay and spit. Together they faced challenges of journeying together and wishing to defeat something together. Adam and Eve had a similar feel, but not trying to defeat something. Both pairs were curious and dubious, which obviously led them downward. Aside from being a myth story, the characters all interact in a ‘robotic’ way. Doing as they are told, following directions, not being overly emotional (although this counts more for the background characters.). I find that this is a myth that tells more of a story than a regular myth and contains fewer morals. I believe it is more following a story-line rather than trying to answer the unknown.

    Gilgamesh is definitely a tragic hero, no doubt in my mind. We don’t necessarily find a lot of empathy for him due to his many… well.. ‘actions’ in the beginning as well as his hard ruthless exterior. It is easy to go along the story and almost forget he used to be the most feared in all the kingdom due to how terrible he was to others, but it is never forgotten how he craves power and praise. This leads us to believe his character flaw was how he craved the attention from others (power and praise, just as earlier). When he loses the thing he loves the most (or seems to), this is his downfall.

  12. After reading the excerpt of the Epic of Gilgamesh, I noticed that there were many similarities between that and the creation and destruction myths we have seen in class. The Epic of Gilgamesh has both creation and destruction aspects within it, but the story itself doesn’t end with either creation or destruction. Gilgamesh laid the framework for epics, tragedies, and myths that would come later. The Meso-American myth of Coatlicue the World Mother shares a similar story with Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca takedown Coatlicue. This resembles when Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay Humbaba. Enkidu was made to rival Gilgamesh, which can be loosely connected to how Tezcatlipoca is the evil side to Quetzalcoatl. The ending for these two pieces of literature end differently. With the death of Coatlicue, the universe was created. This differs from when Gilgamesh and Enkidu slayed Humbaba, because it was seen as a giant conquest, not a creation. This shows that the big difference between epics and myths is that epics are full stories that tend to have a neutral ending after many big events, while myths tend to end with the creation or destruction of something.

    Gilgamesh is a perfect example of a tragic hero. He has a major flaw, which is his arrogance. Since Gilgamesh has the body of a god, this grabs the attention of Ishtar and ultimately leads to the death of Enkidu. With the death of Enkidu, we see that Gilgamesh’s life takes a turn for the worst and his life never goes back to the way it was. The Epic of Gilgamesh has characteristics of both Aristotle’s tragic hero archetype and Campbell’s monomyth. The archetype that this piece of writing has is the effects of relationships and deaths of those relationships. With the death of Enkidu, we see the toll it takes on Gilgamesh as he sets out to find Ut-Napishtim to become immortal, so he doesn’t have to fear death.

  13. I’ve decided to compare the Epic of Gilgamesh with “ISRAEL: Genesis and the Talmudic Lilith.” One character from Epic of Gilgamesh was Gilgamesh himself. I will be comparing him to “ISRAEL: Genesis and the Talmudic Lilith” character Gabriel. Both of the characters were sent on a mission. The purpose of these journeys were completely different though. Gilgamesh’s journey was selfish and the goal of the journey only benefitted himself. Gabriel on the other hand was sent by God to create people. His goal was selfless rather than selfish because he had nothing to gain from what he was nothing. Another character from Epic of Gilgamesh was Utnapishtim. He was the only survivor of the flood that was sent by the Gods. He is similar to Adam from “ISRAEL: Genesis and the Talmudic Lilith.” Adam was created in order to start the population. The similarities between the myth and the epic shows how there is a common outline when these were written. They are also very different. The myth is short and doesn’t have a lot of depth, while the epic is long and hits many more of Campbell’s points.

    Aristotle’s idea of a tragedy is simple. He believes that tragedies should target peoples emotions.The Epic of Gilgamesh truly targets the reader’s emotions when Enkidu dies, leaving Gilgamesh to grieve. Gilgamesh fell into a dark depression after his beloved friend died. The readers are able to relate to this and feel for the pain Gilgamesh is going through. Campbell’s theory talks about how the hero must go through three main stages for it to be considered a tragedy. They must first go through separation. Gilgamesh leaves his city of Uruk, in order to go out on his journeys. He must next go through initiation. On Gilgamesh’s journeys, he defeats monsters that appear to be unstoppable. Lastly he must return. On both the journeys Gilgamesh set out on, he was able to return home, once successful and once not. Overall, the Epic of Gilgamesh follows the ideas of Aristotle and Joseph Campbell.

  14. 1) The difference between epic and myth is that epics are meant to celebrate the deeds of a cultural icon while myths are meant to explain a reason for being and to explain how things came to be. In The Epic of Gilgamesh and the myth from China: Cosmic Egg and Yin and Yang, not only can we see the differences between an epic and a myth, we can also see some similarities. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, we are introduced to Gilgamesh – a demigod of sorts. We read about his trials: meeting Enkidu,slaying Humbaba and then the Bull of Heaven, losing Enkidu and then searching for Ut-napishtin. During all of this we are told how Gilgamesh is feeling and what he decides to do, and as an epic should, it does celebrate the deeds of a cultural icon – in this case Gilgamesh. In the myth of the Cosmic Egg and Yin and Yang from China, it is told that in the beginning there is an egg of chaos and a mix of opposites (light and dark, cold and hot, etc). Phan Ku (not anything yet) breaks from the egg and sets chaos upon the earth. During his time alive Phan Ku creates the sun, moon and stars, and he also teaches the people what he knows. Phan Ku and Gilgamesh are both seen as people to look up to and go for help/teachings. They both provide a sense of clarity: Phan Ku teaches the people about what he knows since he came from the cosmic egg and was surrounded by yin and yang. Gilgamesh helps his city by defeating Humbaba. In both the epic and myth a split causing chaos is mentioned (in the myth it was the egg and in the epic it was the split between Sirara and Lebanon). The epic subtly explains how things came to be while the myth about the Cosmic Egg and Yin and Yang explain how things came to be more heavily.

    2) We can see Aristotle’s and Campbell’s ideas within The Epic of Gilgamesh. With Aristotle’s analysis of tragedy we can see how the plot does end on a note of equilibrium; this is shown when Gilgamesh returns home the same way he came. The Epic of Gilgamesh also includes Aristotle’s concept of catharsis: readers can finally lose (or purge) their feelings of anxiety for Gilgamesh when he returns home. This is also present when Gilgamesh battles Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven, both events call for a moment of catharsis. Campbell’s ideas of a monomyth are shown with Gilgamesh when he leaves his city with Enkidu to originally fight Humbaba (separation), and then when he battles and defeats Humbaba and he is sent on more journeys (initiation), then finally once Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh goes to Ut-napishtin only to go back home (return).

  15. 1). A similarity between The Epic of Gilgamesh and creation myths is that when mankind is created, it is from something of the earth. In the former, Enkidu is created through the mother-god’s clay. In Norse mythology, for example, the first man and woman (Askr and Embla) are formed from two tree trunks by the gods. The differences between these two are that Enkidu was made by a singular goddess Aruru, while Askr and Embla are made by three gods; Odin, Vili, and Ve. Also, Askr and Embla are the parents of the human race, while Enkidu was simply created to stop Gilgamesh from suppressing over the Uruk people.

    2.) Gilgamesh can be seen as a great example when talking about the hero’s journey since he is a divine figure who is strong yet arrogant. After being sent to a place unfamiliar to what he knows, he is given the task to defeat the divine bull sent by Ishtar. His lowest point is when his new friend Enkidu is killed by the gods. The later part in particular fits well with how some myths end in a tragedy. Regardless, Gilgamesh has a lot to him that makes him qualified to be an example for the hero’s journey.

  16. 1) In most creation and destruction myths, we don’t see a lot of character and plot development. It follows a simple and straightforward structure that lays the baseline information for how the world is made. The Epic of Gilgamesh follows a much more detailed story with a much longer list of characters, plot lines and a thoroughly developed character arc. Even in the Mesopotamian world-parent creation myth, a long list of characters and their relation to each other are mentioned, but their personalities and actions are not necessarily the focus of the story. The focus remains on the creation of different aspects of the world. In both stories, a main creator and world-parent is a goddess, Aruru (Epic) and Mummu (Mesopotamian), who not only become mother figures to the Earth, but to humans, and other gods. These comparisons demonstrate that while epics are long detailed and character-focused, myths, specifically creation and destruction, are much more plot based. Oftentimes it appears that an epic can be classified as a myth, but not always the other way around.

    2) Gilgamesh’s arrogance and narcissism work as his tragic flaw when analyzing him as a potential tragic hero. His inherited (partial) divinity and natural strength made him appear great despite his behavior, so even if the audience and reader don’t find him to be particularly relatable or likeable in the beginning, to many of the other characters he appears to be a hero. However, as his story continues the audience sees his character growth as he and Enkidu learn from each other on their journey. That is, until Enkidu’s death, leaving Gilgamesh to continue on his own, now having suffered a loss and found a new appreciation and understanding of mortality.

  17. 1.) I think a similiar creation story to the one we see in The Epic of Gilgamesh is the origin of humans in Greek mythology by Prometheus. Much in the same way that Aruru created Enkidu, Prometheus created all mankind. For starters both are one God in a group of many, and secondly when they created humans they used the same material, clay. This makes the myths very similar from a story telling and themeatical perspective, though they are used in different contexts and hold different meaning and values teaching very different lessons. Prometheus created man to please the Gods and give them something to have power over, Aruru created Enkidu as an answer to her people in order to help them contain Gilgamesh and to give Gilgamesh a friend.
    2.) In my opinion Gilgamesh is a tragic hero as he follows the hero’s journey. He is someone of great importance, with a powerful and noble background, he had a fatal flaw which was his recklessnes and wild nature, and he goes through the cycle of Departure, Initiation, and Return. Gilgamesh does differ slightly from the tragic hero however in the fact that while yes, his downfalls are caused by a bad judgement, Gilgamesh also does display more than a few character flaws.Beggining the story less as a man meaning to do well, but is flawed, and more as someone who is arrogant and unlikable that through life experience and friendship learns. However he utimately does fit into the archtype as at the end of his journey he has understood his flaws and grows as a person leaving him a better ruler, and man than he was before.

  18. In the epic of Gilgamesh, they build this story of this all powerful man that is ⅔ god and ⅓ mortal. I feel like this compares well to the Mesopotamian creation myth with Marduk because Enkidu is created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh and challenge him, like how Apsu is sent to stop the young gods, Anu and his brothers. There are many differences however, in that their conclusions come to a different end, but that’s because their purpose and storytelling are much different. The creation myth is just that, the Mesopotamian myth of how the world was brought to be, whereas the epic of Gilgamesh is the story of Gilgamesh who in losing his best friend wants to live forever by adventuring to find Utnapishtim, who might be able to grant him eternal life, but when he is unable to, Gilgamesh’s eyes then open a bigger picture and sense of the world that he comes to accept.

    The epic of Gilgamesh certainly has aspects of both a tragic hero as well as Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. I believe Gilgamesh would be the tragic hero because in losing Enkidu, he was unable to stop grieving for him, it made him fearful of his own death which began Gilgamesh on his final journey. In the beginning of the epic, we learn that Gilgamesh is very arrogant and through the pleas of his subjects, the gods bring Enkidu to stop Gilgamesh. However, when Gilgamesh and Enkidu befriend each other they go on many great adventures. The gods however believe them to be too strong so they unfortunately choose Enkidu to give a grave illness and he dies. This death could be the finale of the tragic hero because the death of his best friend could be seen as so great that he has lost himself as well.

  19. “Gilgamesh” and the shorter creation and destruction myths have key similarities and differences. A myth that stood out to me while reading “Gilgamesh” was “Coatlicue The World Mother” In this myth two brothers fight a goddess who has been destructive towards the world around them. A key similarity between the two myths is that in both myths there are two men who are intrigued to fight a powerful being. The two brothers in “Coatlicue The World Mother” remind me of Gilgamesh and Enkidu because they started off as enemies and ended up going on adventures just like the two brothers. A notable difference between the myths was process in which how they go about the adventure. In the short myths they head straight into adventure and in epics they go into detail and introduce you to the characters first.

    “Gilgamesh” follows Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of a hero’s journey with a departure, initiation and return. Gilgamesh first departs When Gilgamesh and Enkidu set out to go on the heroic journey to defeat Humbaba. The initiation stage occurred when Enkidu died and Gilgamesh started the second heroic journey searching for immortality. Gilgamesh then went through a significant amount of hardships. The return stage happens when Gilgamesh returns to people back home with new knowledge after his adventure. Overall “Gilgamesh” covers the three main points in Campbell’s view of the hero’s journey.

  20. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, some similarities include the fact that the creature isn’t fully human. In this case Gligamesh was 2/3 “divine” & 1/3 mortal. Another similarity is these creatures are always created from some substance of Earth. Enkidu was created using clay to be used to defeat Gilgamesh. But it didn’t end up working out that way, just like in the Coatlicue The World Mother.

    In my opinion I think Gilgamesh could be seen as a tragic hero. He meets the requirements of being a tragic hero because he is one of the main character who ultimately runs into defeat or some type of suffering. In his case, it was the suffering of his friend Enkidu being killed by the gods.

  21. 1.) When exploring the creation myths and the epic of Gilgamesh it became abundantly clear that there are striking similarities to each other through each and every one. It goes to show that all the readings from the week prior have made very true points about the basis of heroes and myth. To dive into comparison I chose the creation myth of Emma Elish and the World parent to contrast with Gilgamesh. The story of Emma Elish revolves around this idea of a mother earth and this epic hero much like some elements of Gilgamesh. In the creation myth there is the mother earth who becomes these different components of the world and in Gilgamesh there is Aruru. In Gilgamesh she helps him and guides him but in the creation myth it seems to be more of a conflict between the ultimate mother earth and Marduk. Then we see the comparisons between Marduk and Gilgamesh. Both are epic heroes that fit the typical archetypal modes that a hero follows. Marduk slays the villians and turns them back to the earth to become the conqueror. Gilgamesh has to fight villians but overall the biggest problem he faces is himself at some points. He has to get an elixir but ultimately loses it showing his catharsis in a way,
    2.) As mentioned in the above question I do believe that Gilgamesh fits the modes of a tragic hero and leading to a catharsis. He is led on this mission to find the secret to mortality and gain his wants to live forever. In part his dream to live forever is too arrogant and his catharsis is shown throughout that as well. He ends up getting an elixir that would be his answer but loses it ultimately showing that he is flawed and unable to get what he wants. This shows that overall he is a tragic hero and fits the basic plot motifs.

  22. 1) I am going to comparing the Chinese myth of creation to Gilgamesh. One main difference between the two is that that the Chinese myth Cosmic Egg and Yin and Yang is way shorter than the Epic of Gilgamesh. A similarity that they share is in both stories each is showing how their society’s and social structure was created and out into motion. In the Chinese myth their was an evil-frost giant named Ymir and it was killed by three gods Odin, Vili, and Ve. The three gods used Ymir’s body to create the world. When comparing the character Gilgamesh to the character to Phan Ku. Phan Ku and Gilgamesh were both known for being people that people rely on. Phan Ku came from the cosmic egg and was very wise and taught people everything they know. Gilgamesh was very strong and also very wise and lots people relied on him, especially because he was a king. These two characters were also different, Gilgamesh was a terrible leader to his people and his morals lacked. This was unlike Phan Ku who was not like that.

    2) The epic follows Aristotle’s tragic’s modes in a few ways. The main character Gilgamesh can be see as a tragic hero. He is relatable to a certain extent and is part man. The tragic hero Gilgamesh goes through something tragic which is the death of his friend Enkidu. Gilgamesh also goes through punishment because the death of his friend was a result of his own doing.

Comments are closed.