Friday, February 4, 2011


I'm taking one core class in school this semester because I was never able to get into it until just now. It is a world literature class. We're reading the same old stuff mostly, But this semester we just completed the Epic of Gilgamesh which I'd actually not read yet so it was kind of interesting. Anyway, I had the joy of writing a 4 pg paper on it today(sarcasm). I got to the end of the paper though and realized there was an interesting paradox going on with the main character, an inner conflict basically. Here is my conclusion to the paper before I explain further:

       " Enkidu warned Gilgamesh. He basically said, “This is not a good idea.” The real questions that are answered toward the end of the story are slightly more deep than “did he survive?” These questions revert back entirely to his original goals; goals that were set in this section of the epic [the portion of the story I wrote about] and about immortality, consequences, and pride. We know that most of the men of his city were destroyed by a beast sent by the gods caused by his journey. We know that he was able to get wood for a very pretty door to adorn the city, one that would become very empty. We also know that through this prideful act of not heeding any warnings and pressing forward anyway he gained immortality…in his own eyes anyway by leaving the legacy behind of defeating Humbaba among other things he accomplished. These answers, though, only raise more questions. The entire epic is about Gilgamesh conquering gods and beasts but did Gilgamesh really win? Did he really leave behind the legacy that he would like to leave behind? In order to become a hero he did some very villainish things. The normal story of an epic hero means that he or she comes back from the journey changed for good and on a good beat, but the epic of Gilgamesh ends with a slow rhythm, one that could easily be interpreted as being a feeling of hopelessness. Gilgamesh now just a man looks at just a city with just a big wooden door and recounts his tales to one other surviving person so that his “immortality” may truly be achieved."

As sloppily written as that is (rough draft) I feel like I stumbled across an interesting idea. Gilgamesh was interested in immortality. He comments that through creating a legacy of being "the king that slayed Humbaba", a demon that protected a forest, he could gain a form of immortality. But what I began to wonder as I was writing my paper, and if I rewrote my paper it would probably be much better, is at what cost? He lost his friends to death. Most of the men in his city had been slaughtered. The gods were not pleased with him. Was it worth it?

Bringing it home, is it worth it? Gilgamesh's goal was to chop down majestic Cedars to create the best entrance ever but at then end of the story he's looking over this devastation and recounting his story to a scribe. That door, was it worth the fact that most of the city's citizens would never see it because they had to move or were killed? What I live for, today. Is it worth it? What type of legacy am I building and with whom and at what cost? I can't say that I can answer these questions or that I should be able to in the moment but one day there will be an answer, whether I like it or not. I pray I don't end up like Gilgamesh. Stuck. Looking at a "legacy", everything that I worked for, a piece of my own "immortality", that cannot be changed and it all be in empty ruins.


  1. Very interesting question and has probably been asked by many a person. Why has God put me here, what am I supposed to do and what will I leave behind? Good blog!

  2. Josh,
    I finally got around to reading this and quite liked it! I think that by asking the big questions, you are a head of the curve in reaching some enlightenment about the universe and all of our places in it. I commend you for that! When I was younger, I was much like my mortality has set in, and I'm the opposite - filled with humility and not nearly as wreckless. One thing I found myself asking while reading your blog post was what Gilgamesh would have been like as an old man??? The reflection at the end of the story is till from the point of view of a young-er-ish man of that time. Do you think his perspective would have changed as he aged, or would he still be a prideful, somewhat arrogant King? I often wonder if any of us ever change...what do you think?? Thanks for sharing!!