The story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, dates back to before the bible was written, making it the oldest piece of literature or written text in the world. This story was written on eleven clay tablets, and it gives a detailed account of Gilgamesh's hero's journey. In this story, Gilgamesh's thinking changes over the course of his journey when he realizes that he has to accept death.
Gilgamesh is consumed by his arrogance that he will ultimately die one day, so why not die a heroic death. This is visible in two particular places; one place we can see this is when Enkidu pleads to the Elders of Uruk to persuade Gilgamesh to cease his quest for glory, Gilgamesh retorts, "Dear friend, has your courage returned? Are you ready to leave? Or are you still afraid of dying a hero's death?" (97). We also see that Gilgamesh is opposed to cowardice in the story when Enkidu questions their upcoming journey to kill Humbaba, Gilgamesh answered, "Why, dear friend, do you speak like a coward? What you just said is unworthy of you. It grieves my heart. We are not gods, we cannot ascend to heaven. No, we are mortal men. Only the gods live forever. Our days are few in number, and whatever we achieve is a puff of wind. Why be afraid then, since sooner or later death must come?" (93). In both quotes, the words courage, coward, and afraid, or words similar to these, are repeated multiple times. Gilgamesh is manipulating Enkidu in order for Enkidu to accompany him in his quest to kill Humbaba. Gilgamesh puts forward his argument of dying a noble death in order to convince Enkidu that if he happens to die while attempting to conquer Humbaba, his death would be honored for years to come. Gilgamesh is also making fun of Enkidu in a slightly sarcastic way; " has your courage returned? Are you ready to leave? Or are you still afraid of dying a hero's death?" (97). .
Gilgamesh is frightened of death and tries to escape his ultimate fate in an attempt to not die like his friend Enkidu.