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The Friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu

            The relationship between Enkidu and Gilgamesh.
             In the epic story of Gilgamesh the friendship between the story's main character, King Gilgamesh, and his loyal companion Enkidu is a wonderful example of true friendship. Prior to the union of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, King Gilgamesh was a man of raw and unrestrained power. He was a being of which there was no equal. His boastful attitude and arrogance was equally matched by his excessive abuse of power. It was this very abuse power which led his city, Uruk, into an overwhelming state of rage and injustice. Unbeknownst to King Gilgamesh he was in dire need of an ego check. .
             The first sign of a sincere change in Gilgamesh's overbearing attitude arises as a result of the birth of Enkidu. Upon their first meeting Enkidu and Gilgamesh challenge each other by blocking one another's path in the street in a demonstration of each other's steadfastness. "They grappled, holding each other like bulls". (p. 16, 4) After Enkidu was finally thrown by Gilgamesh, their fury died and they embraced. Thus their friendship was sealed. Gilgamesh would soon change his selfish attitude and open his heart to accept Enkidu as a brother.
             As their journey through the forest begins, we learn the decree of Enlil, father of the gods. The destiny of Gilgamesh, according to Enlil, is kinship and not everlasting life. This foreboding decree would later be proven true. Enkidu's devotion to Gilgamesh is shown in their battles with Humbaba and with the Bull of Heaven. Although Enkidu initially protests Gilgamesh's imperialistic conquests, he eventually concedes to the will of his companion. The bond between these two men is so strong that Enkidu, in essence, dies for Gilgamesh when he is wounded in their battle with Humbaba. During this battle, Enkidu did most of the fighting and was injured in such a way that would eventually prove fatal, but Gilgamesh was able to strike the victorious final blow.

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