Gilgamesh and Monomyth
Gilgamesh and Monomyth
The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the popular ancient movies that are still common. A good story is seen and felt by how well a story makes heroes from the mythical world to the real human world. There are different numbers of heroes in Mesopotamia, including king Gilgamesh and the Mesopotamian king searching for immorality. Therefore, the plot of Gilgamesh’s king can be well described by Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, which talks about brave faces with three stages: the time apart, initiation, and the return (Olson et al., 2021). The intimate friend Enkidu a naked and wild man who was civilized through the arts of a priest in the temple. Gilgamesh gets into a conflict with the monsters. Unfortunately, Enkidu succumbs; he becomes sad and hard to console and decides to set out on a lonely and isolated journey to find a way forward on how to escape death.
King Gilgamesh decides to sacrifice everything in exchange for success, power and adventure even though he was a king full of arrogance, fearless, and is more concerned in making heroic movies more than preserving his own life, contrary to the fact that they share an unbreakable bond with Enkidu. Gilgamesh faces his fears when an innocent child shows fearlessness in death, and life dangers became a turning point to Gilgamesh and made him too quickly face his fear of death. After the death of his friend Enkidu, he became obsessed and sacrifice his life in search of mortality and therefore resolves for journey in the underworld with the purpose to avoid the same fate and this is seen when he says that “I will not die like Enkidu, But weeping has entered into my heart Fear of death has befallen me, and I lie here stretched out upon the ground. To test the strength of Utnapishtim, the son of Kidin-Marduk, I will set out, and I will go at once.” On return to a trip to Utnapishtin here his wife and the people who had survived floods were allowed no death by the gods.
Separation occurs when Gilgamesh’s intimate friend Enkidu dies, which harms the king, and he even finds a hard time getting consolation as he lost a close friend. “Who, my friend, can ascend to the heavens? (Only) the gods can dwell forever with Shamash. As for human beings, their days are numbered, and whatever they keep trying to achieve is but wind! Now you are afraid of death—what has become of your bold strength? I will go in front of you, and your mouth can cry out: “Go on closer, do not be afraid! Should I fall, I will have established my fame. (They will say:) “It was Gilgamesh who locked in battle with Humbaba the Terrible!” (2.228-237). The initiation period happens when king Gilgamesh decides to face his fears and face what is entailed in mortality so that he could escape death, “What we finally do, out of desperation … is go on an impossible, or even forbidden, journey or pilgrimage, which from a rational point of view is futile: to find the one wise man, whomever or wherever he may be; and to find from him the secret of eternal life or the secret of adjusting to this life as best we can.” (The Epic of Gilgamesh) Moreover, finally, on his return from the underworld, he finds some people, including his wife, as the survivors or mortality and even advises on how to live “Savor your food, make each of your days a delight, bathe and anoint yourself, wear bright clothes that are sparkling clean, let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and gives your wife pleasure in your embrace. That is the best way for a man to live.”
The epic of Gilgamesh was driven by emotions and fear, where the effect of losing a friend took him on the journey of finding solutions to death which in most cases is impossible. It also shows that everybody in our daily lives needs a friend no matter how powerful, arrogant, or aggressive we are; this is seen in Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The pain of losing a loved one can lead to impulsive behaviors as Gilgamesh decides to look for ways of solving mortality so that death could not take his loved ones and travels to the underworld.
Olson, R. (2021). 1 Science is stuck in a narrative world. In Houston, We Have a Narrative (pp. 33-52). University of Chicago Press.
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