How Did Gilgamesh Change During the Story: Character Transformation
In the ancient epic of Gilgamesh, the titular character, Gilgamesh, undergoes a profound transformation throughout the course of the story. Initially portrayed as a proud and tyrannical king, Gilgamesh's encounters and experiences shape his character, leading to his eventual growth and maturity. How exactly did Dilgamesh change during the story? In the essay we will briefly analyse transformation of Gilgamesh character through the epic story.
At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as a powerful ruler in the city of Uruk, known for his immense strength and arrogance. He abuses his authority, oppressing his subjects and engaging in selfish and reckless behavior. The people of Uruk, burdened by his harsh rule, cry out for help from the gods.
In response to the people's pleas, the gods create Enkidu, a wild and uncivilized man, as a foil to Gilgamesh. Enkidu becomes Gilgamesh's equal in strength, and after a fierce battle, the two warriors form an unlikely friendship. This encounter with Enkidu serves as a catalyst for Gilgamesh's transformation.
Through their adventures together, Gilgamesh learns important lessons about humility, compassion, and the fragility of human life. The death of Enkidu deeply affects Gilgamesh, forcing him to confront his own mortality and the inevitability of death. This realization sparks a quest for immortality as Gilgamesh embarks on a journey to seek eternal life.
During his quest, Gilgamesh encounters Utnapishtim, the only mortal granted immortality by the gods. Through Utnapishtim's wise counsel, Gilgamesh learns the futility of his pursuit and gains a deeper understanding of the value of the present moment. Utnapishtim recounts the story of the Great Flood, teaching Gilgamesh that death is an inescapable part of human existence and that he should instead focus on living a meaningful life.
Gilgamesh returns to Uruk a changed man. He has gained wisdom, humility, and a greater appreciation for his responsibilities as a king. No longer consumed by his own desires, Gilgamesh becomes a benevolent ruler, ensuring the well-being of his subjects and actively participating in the betterment of society. He transforms from a self-centered tyrant into a compassionate and just leader.
In summary, Gilgamesh's transformation throughout the epic is marked by a shift from arrogance and tyranny to humility and wisdom. His friendship with Enkidu, the loss of his companion, and his encounters with Utnapishtim all contribute to his growth and eventual acceptance of his mortality. Gilgamesh's journey teaches him valuable lessons about the nature of life, love, and the responsibilities of leadership, ultimately transforming him into a more enlightened and empathetic individual.