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The Gods Had To Punish Gilgamesh

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Gilgamesh is one of the oldest literary works in the world. The story of Gilgamesh was originally found on twelve stone tablets. In the story, the acts of Gilgamesh do not please the men of Uruk so they complain to the gods that, ” A goddess made him, strong as a savage bull, none can withstand his arms. No son is left with his father, for Gilgamesh takes them all; and is this the king, the shepherd of his people? His lust leaves no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior’s daughter nor the wife of the noble” (Gilgamesh, 13). So the gods cried out to Aruru, the goddess or creation. Eventually Aruru created Enkidu to help Gilgamesh become a better ruler. Once Enkidu and Gilgamesh meet they embraced each other and created an everlasting friendship. Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay Humbaba and kill the bull of heaven. The Gods are angry so they decided that either Gilgamesh or Enkidu must be killed as a punishment. The Gods decided to kill Enkidu because they strongly desired to give Gilgamesh emotional pain eventually leading to his death.

In the story of Gilgamesh the Gods did indeed have the ability to predict the future. In the beginning of the story before Gilgamesh knew of the coming of Enkidu, Ninsun his mother who was a goddess was able to predict the future. “…The star of heaven which descended like a meteor form the sky; which you tried to lift, but found too heavy, when you tried to move it, it would not budge, and so you brought it to my feet; I made it for you, a goad and spur, and you were drawn to it as though to a woman. This is the strong comrade, the one who brings help to his friend in his need. He is the strongest of wild creatures, the stuff on Anu; born in the grass-lands and the wild hill reared him; when you see him you will be glad; you will love him as a woman and he will never forsake you. This is the meaning of the dream” (Gilgamesh, 16). This quote states that Ninsun was aware of the coming of Enkidu, therefore she did have the ability to predict the future. If Ninsun was a goddess and she was able to predict the future that proves that all the gods and goddess had the ability to predict the future.

In the story, Isthar who was the goddess of love desired to marry Gilgamesh. She said to him, “Come to me Gilgamesh, and be my bridegroom; grant me the seed of your body, let me be your bride and you shall be my husband…” (Gilgamesh, 25). Gilgamesh did not desire the spend the rest of his life with Isthar. Isthar was very offended and angry because of this and she said to her father, ” My father, give me the Bull of Heaven to destroy Gilgamesh, I say, with arrogance to his destruction…” (Gilgamesh, 26). Isthar makes it clear that she wants to destroy Gilgamesh. At this point in the story one would assume that she meant she wanted to physically destroy Gilgamesh but she meant emotionally. Gilgamesh does not physically feel any pain once the bull of heaven came down to destroy him. Him and Enkidu destroyed the bull of heaven. It was because of that act the gods decided to kill Enkidu to emotionally destroy Gilgamesh.

The reason that Enkidu was created was so Gilgamesh would receive help in becoming a better ruler. “…Let it be a like him as his own reflection, his second self, and stormy heart for stormy heart. Let them contend together and leave Uruk in quiet ” Gilgamesh,14). Enkidu did exactly what the gods created him to do, he helped Gilgamesh become a better ruler. He helped Gilgamesh destroy Humbaba and the bull of heaven. Gilgamesh loved Enkidu dearly because he was a mirror image of himself. The loss of Enkidu would emotionally destroy Gilgamesh. This is exactly what Isthar wanted to happen therefore since Enkidu had already helped Gilgamesh become a better ruler he no longer was needed so therefore by killing Enkidu Isthar and the rest of the Gods knew that Gilgamesh would be destroyed.

Gilgamesh became a better ruler but all actions do have consequences. If Gilgamesh himself had been killed then he would not have felt pain. By destroying Enkidu and putting Gilgamesh in eternal and emotional pain, making him have a search for immortality, finding youth and having it taken away from him the Gods indeed gave Gilgamesh a very painful punishment and death.

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