The Epic of Gilgamesh

Where is “Uruk”? Say the name out loud and listen closely. Some things never change, even if the spelling does.

In Gilgamesh, who are Gilgamesh and Enkidu? If they are metaphors for something else, what would that be? What is the nature of their relationship? Are they a Doppelganger? Do they remind you of any other stories from ancient (or modern) literature? If so, which stories?

 

Uruk is in Southern Iraq, along the Euphrates, which plays an important part in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Reading Gilgamesh, if not for the mention of the Euphrates, one might think Uruk were somewhere other than the Middle East, since the forest plays such an important part in the story, and you do not typically think of forests when you think of Iraq.

Gilgamesh is a boisterous king, two-thirds god, who is very proud of his walled-city of Uruk. Enkidu is a wild beast-man, created by the gods from clay in order to oppose and/or tame Gilgamesh. Enkidu and Gilgamesh end up becoming the best of friends. Then Enkidu dies, which profoundly impacts Gilgamesh, to the point that Gilgamesh grows his hair out and wears wild furs like Enkidu did. I guess in this sense you could consider them doppelgangers, but other than that, I would not say they are. I normally consider a doppelganger to be a double, a duplicate, an exact copy—which Enkidu and Gilgamesh are not. If anything, they are more polar opposites: Gilgamesh being the narcissistic man, and Enkidu being the naturalistic force of nature.

For some reason, while reading of Gilgamesh’s larger-than-life adventures, I sometimes caught myself thinking of Achilles from Homer’s Iliad—specifically Brad Pitt’s portrayal of him in the 2004 movie Troy; which is weird, because I have not seen that movie in years. Beyond that, there was an underlying sense of familiarity with the entire Epic of Gilgamesh, as if I had heard it all before. This is most likely because all of these great stories can probably trace their roots back to the same oral history, so they all share motifs and archetypes. If I were more studied, and if I had more than three days to read over the Epic of Gilgamesh, I might be able to place my finger on all these feelings of familiarity and which stories from ancient and modern literature Gilgamesh reminds me of.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Lies

What if everything you knew was a lie? But what if it wasn’t?

What if Christ was a myth created by the Roman Catholics and based on their sun-god religion that goes back from America to Rome, Greece, Egypt, Sumer, and Atlantis. But what if it was all real, and there really is “no way to the Father but through [Christ]”?

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Lies

Tent City

Read the article “Tent City, America” by Chris Herring at Places Journal.

I’ve seen the homeless panhandlers in every city I’ve lived in. I’ve never given one a single penny and I always wish they weren’t there. I’ve caught myself wishing “someone would do something about this,” which sounds terrible, I know, but I’m just being honest. And seriously, something should be done. I don’t have anything against the homeless, I just wish I didn’t have to explain to my child why all the people in all the cars just ignore that man who’s asking for help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a freegan, living off the land and/or city and/or generosity of others. Float free, fellow humans! If I weren’t married with kids, I’d happily quit society and join a commune. But still, the people Herring talks about in his “Tent City” expose could use a sensible solution to their problems.

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Tent City

Myths and History

“Genesis” and “Exodus” tell cosmic stories, myths, if you will. However, they are also read as history by some. How can these two opposing viewpoints–myth and history–be reconciled? What similarities do you see in these two books of the Old Testament and The Epic of Gilgamesh? What are the differences?

 

The way I was raised was to take every word of the Bible as the literal truth, sent directly from God’s mouth to the writers’ hands without error. Since then, my views have changed 180 degrees. Now, I lump the stories of the Bible in with The Epic of Gilgamesh and the thousands of other myths from around the world. After all, even though three of the world’s major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) accept the Old Testament or Torah as truth, that still leaves out pretty much all of Asia and the Native Peoples of the Americas.

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Myths and History

The Odyssey

The Odyssey of Homer is the first great piece of narrative literature of the Western World. What is the relevance of The Odyssey and its influence on the rest of world literature, including the epic, pastoral literature, and lyric and dramatic poetry?

Remember to quote from the readings to illustrate and prove your points, followed by MLA citation, both in-text and on a Works Cited page.

 

Homer’s literature, probably being written around 800 BCE, is classified as Preclassical. Well, we call it Homer’s literature, but it is most likely he was not the original author—he is just the one who gets the credit:

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The Odyssey