The Desire For Everlasting Life And Gilgamesh

1434 words - 6 pages

The desire for everlasting life or immortality has been the first and the oldest quest of mankind. At the beginning of time, man was designed to live forever. When God created Adam, he created him to dwell on the earth and to fill it with his offspring’s. At no time was he told that this was a temporary arrangement. He was to live forever unless he ate from one certain tree. If he ate from that tree, then he would die. We are then left with several questions, if he had not eaten from that tree, would he still be alive? If he was meant to live forever, was that desire instilled in him? And as his descendants, was the desire to live forever instilled in each of us as well?

That desire is in all mankind. From the beginning of time, man has searched for the holy grail of immortality. People have looked for magical potions and searched for countless ways and spent fortunes in order to find the miracle that was to extend their lives, to turn back the clock, to keep them youthful. In this aspect, our hero, Gilgamesh, is no different. Gilgamesh’s life is somewhat similar to that of the Bible’s first man, Adam. He was designed perfectly “towering Gilgamesh is uncanningly perfect.” (pg. 4) He enjoyed paradistic conditions. He enjoys his life, his might and power, and perhaps believes that he will live forever, that he will be youthful forever. He has much to live for, is too vigorous to be truly mortal. He is after all 2/3 part divine and only 1/3 part human. Why would he not want to live forever? Was Gilgamesh, like Adam, at first given the right and desire to live forever and later lost it by an act of disobedience? Gilgamesh, like countless others, begins a quest for immortal life. He wants to make sure that he can live forever. When he kills the monster Humbaba, he does so to gain immortality in a different way. If he is to die, then he will make a name for himself that will live forever, and in that way gain his greatest desire, immortality. “I’ll establish my name: Gilgamesh, who joined battle with fierce Humbaba (they’ll say). An eternal name I will make for myself.” (pgs. 19, 20) But in this respect, he makes the same mistake that Adam made; he takes something that does not belong to him, Humbaba’s life, and because of that, he looses the life of his best friend, his companion, Enkidu. Not only that, but now he may also have lost the chance at the one thing he truly desires, immortality. He too angers his gods, and he too is punished with the loss of Enkidu’s life, and perhaps his own as well.

With the death of his dearest friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh now begins to actually fear death and begins searching for the one man that was made immortal by the gods to ask him how to overcome death. In Gilgamesh’s own words, the death of his friend Enkidu has shaken him to the core. When speaking of his death he says “Enkidu, whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship. The fate of mankind has overtaken him. Six...

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