Gilgamesh: Hero or not?
A hero is someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her bravery. Giglamesh is the king of Uruk who may or may not have existed. Many people question if Giglamesh was a hero or not; what do you think? Stories told that the king slept with all the women and took away children from their families. Does that sound like a hero to you? Enkidu who comes to life in the wilderness, he is covered with shaggy, wild like the wilderness, hair. He eats and drinks with the animals.
Enkidu is spotted by trapper realeasing animals in Mesopotamia; the trapper is dumbfounded by Enkidu’s presents and goes to Uruk to find Giglamesh. The harlot seduces Enkidu and the animals reject him and he is lured into civilization. Enkidu hears how Giglamesh is a terrible ruler and he wants to challenge him; Giglamesh throws Enkidu who loses his anger and recognizes Giglamesh as a true king and they embraced and became best friends. Giglamesh is not a hero figure! People cannot sleep with every woman in the town and think that the can be considered a “hero”.
Nowadays if Giglamesh was to sleep with every woman in the town while you had a wife that would be frowned upon in the civilization. Taking people’s children is even worse! How would you feel if someone just deliberately came and took your child from your house without your consent? In my eyes that is far from hero material. Giglamesh is a horrific king, exhausting his people with wall building and womanizing. The gods finally take action and make Enkidu create a balance. Also Giglamesh forces all inhabitants to work for him building walls and temples.
Enkidu and Giglamesh upset the world order by destroying sacred monsters of nature; Giglamesh killed humbaba and Enkidu killed the Bull of Heaven. Therefore, one of them must die Enkidu takes full responsibility of dying for both of them. The king is finally left without a friend and only responsible for living well and building walls. The story of Giglamesh survived thousands of years because it was written on clay with a set of symbols we call cuneiform. Clay is the cheapest, and most durable writing material.
Also another reason of ancient Mesopotamian texts is very difficult to learn. The story of Giglamesh was written on twelve tablets the story told us about Giglamesh’s life and his strive for immortality are told on eleven of the twelve tablets. The twelfth tablet is about the Nether world in which Giglamesh rules after his death. I think his society viewed him as a hero because they lived in fear. Fear of being his slave for the rest of their lives. Fear of having their children taken away from them.
Our society definitely has “hero’s” such as Giglamesh but we call them rapist and kidnappers. Uruk citizens lived in fear of being overruled by their ruler if they didn’t oblige to the king. After tons of research I have found that Giglamesh may have been a warrior but a hero that is a fictional statement. I think Giglamesh was a cruel and horrific man. In my research Giglamesh was a very greedy person and unfit for a king. In conclusion Giglamesh was considered a hero to Uruk’s citizens but that was only because they feared him. Giglamesh is not a hero!