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“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is a story that came about two thousand years ago. Since the story was considered as a classic, its content had therefore been recorded in a very extensive form of clay tablets which were strategically discovered in 1872 at both the religious library and wreckages from the palace of Nineveh. These particular clay tablets had most of the story content. It presented the epic in a rather prehistoric mode of writing so that its letters were comprised of numerous forms of symbols that bore different meanings. This form of writing the story using symbols was defined as the Cuneiform mode of writing (Spark Notes 1).
Cuneiform mode of writing was formulated by a group of people, named the Sumerians. They lived near the TigrisandEuphrates rivers, The epic revolves around several characters and the most notable one is Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk. The plot of the epic does not begin without introducing other characters who helped in bringing about the major themes of the story, these characters are the gods and the goddesses. It is also through them that the epic portrays a favorable outcome since their superhuman nature displays powers which add fascinating and interesting aspects of the story as a whole. Gilgameshis portrayed as a man forced by the prevailing circumstances to undergo a rather crucial makeover of his life that presents itself through friendship and then a resultant loss of the same. Gilgameshis a king and a demigod in the sense that he is two-thirds god and one-third human being. The epic describes him as very attractive and strong in nature, but on the other hand very cruel to his own subjects. A character named Enkidu (a very hairy being that entirely spent most of its time with the animals) is later discovered by a hunter that he was freeing his flock to the traps. Then the hunter decides to request his king to send a prostitute to tame the creature. As a result, its animal friends consider it an outcast. As time passed, Enkidu learns the Gilgameshways of life, precisely the king’s manner of sleeping with virgin brides on the night before their weddings. This makes Enkidu so angry that he decides to challenge the king, not knowing that destiny would eventually bring them together as friends. The two friends embark on an espionage, whose aim is to steal sacred cedars which they intend to use for building the gate. They do this together, after they have killed Humbaba. The sun god Shamash helped them, as he is a demon that was assigned the task of guarding the trees. Later, Ishtartells off Gilgamesh and after he refuses to give in to her requests she gets annoyed and sends the Bull of Heaven but they kill it. The gods and the goddesses are not happy about this killing and decide to paralyze their activities. They eliminate one of them and the vote rests on Enkidu who is subsequently struck by an incurable illness and eventually dies. The death of Enkidudespairs Gilgamesh and he begins to dress like Enkidu. This was the only way he could of console himself. Later he learns that there is Utnapishtim, who was a Mesopotamian Noah with the ability to prevent Gilgamesh death. After several encounters with difficulties, Gilgamesh manages to reach the healer who at first refuses to help him (especially when Gilgamesh fails the test of staying awake for a whole week) but with his wife’s persuasion, he finally agrees to helpGilgamesh. He shows Gilgamesh a miraculous plant that is believed to possess the power of restoring the youthfulness of an aging person. When he finds it, Gilgamesh decides to take it with him back to Uruk, where he would finally share it with his older subjects but as he camps, a snake steals the plant and immediately consumes it to its advantage. It sheds its skin and becomes even younger.
It’s quite clear to stipulate that as the story unfolds, readers are able to meet different types of characters that have been assigned different roles. not only to convey the moral of the epic but also to spice up the events as they happen. At first, Gilgamesh is portrayed as an individual who is cruel and inhumane but as different evenets happen, together with Enkidu hefaces a lot of challenges and circumstances ease his personality. This is particularly portrayed when he loses his best friend Enkiduand wants to return him back to life, he changes his insensitive character to caring, calm and humane. There are other characters that play a crucial role in portraying the epic fully, for instance the god and the goddesses help to bring about the intended concept behind the story as they not only create the story in a fantastic and unique way but also make it very interesting for a reader. For example Anu, father to Sumerian gods, (Mason 95) was the one who created the Bull of Heaven under Ishtar’s ( goddess of love and fertility) persuasion which was later killed by the Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The gods did not have a right to take a decision to kill Enkidu. Both Ishtar and Anu contributed to the death of Enkidu. Shamash, the god of the sun (Mason 96) also helps them to kill Humbaba and therefore builds the gate.Urshanabi helped Gilgamesh to cross the river on his way to look for Utnapishtim, who in turn helped Gilgamesh to find the plant. It is wise to say that the story would have been different, if there were no gods and goddesses as Gilgamesh. Although,the gods and goddesses spice up the epic as minor characters.