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Epic of Gilgamesh

             The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest recorded works of literature in the world. This epic is about the renowned king of Uruk in Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh was the fifth ruler of the first post-diluvian dynasty of Uruk. The story is a mixture of adventure, of morality, and of tragedy. Through this action we are shown a very human concern with mortality, the search for knowledge, and for an escape from the common lot of man. Gilgamesh was the first tragic hero of which anything is known. Gilgamesh was born two parts god and one part man. From his mother he inherited great beauty, strength, and restlessness. From his father he inherited mortality. However, because he is part mortal, the hero discovers in the story that he must eventually die. Gilgamesh is full of himself and abuses his rights as king. He has sexual intercourse with the virgins of his town and acts as though he is a god. From the beginning of the story we can tell that Gilgamesh is an arrogant king. The people of Uruk are full of rage and ask the gods to create him an equal and leave the people of Uruk alone. The gods answered the prayers and created Enkidu. Enkidu was a "wild man" who was eventually tamed. .
             Gilgamesh had finally met his match, a friend that would serve as his life-long companion. Upon the seal of this great friendship, Gilgamesh began to change his selfish ways. Gilgamesh desired to do great deeds, so his name will be remembered. He wants to go to the forest and slay Humbaba. Humbaba is the guardian of the cedar forest. Enkidu is terrified to go, but Gilgamesh insists. Even though they have very disturbing dreams they eventually get to the forest and kill Humbaba. After killing Humbaba the goddess Ishtar wants to marry Gilgamesh. He refuses, rather offensively by pointing out how she has ruined the lives of her previous husbands. Ishtar is enraged by this and she goes to her father Anu. She demands that he send down the Bull of Heaven (drought) to punish Gilgamesh.

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