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Epic of Gilgamesh

             This is as evident now as when The Epic of Gilgamesh was written. Throughout time men have thought that they were destined for greatness; for more than their place. Gilgamesh was such a man. He lived his life in the knowledge that he was semi-divine and lived as if he deserved all that he saw and wanted. Through the gain and loss of his counterpart, Enkidu, Gilgamesh learns more of a man's place in life and, eventually, accepts this truth.
             In the beginning of the story, the praise of Gilgamesh is mixed with criticism of his arrogance. His own subjects complain "Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement, his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all, even the children; yet the king should be a shepherd to his people. His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior's daughter nor the wife of the noble; yet this is the shepherd of the city, wise, comely, and resolute." (19) Gilgamesh clearly had the admiration of the people for his leadership and protection. At the same time, however, they resented his selfish and uncaring ways towards his subjects.
             The people's prayers are answered and Enkidu, the true counterpart for Gilgamesh is created and sent to earth. Enkidu was a perfect sounding board for Gilgamesh; he listened to his dreams and interpreted them for him, he adventured with him, and he guarded over him. It was Enkidu who first tells Gilgamesh of his place in life, "The father of the gods has given you kingship, such is your destiny, everlasting life is not your destiny. Because of this do not be sad at heart, do not be grieved or oppressed. He has given you the power to bind and to loose, to be the darkness and the light of mankind. He has given you unexampled supremacy over the people, victory in battle from which no fugitive returns, in forays and assaults from which there is no going back.

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