Immortal Stays Immortal
The Epic of Gilgamesh was a story written to give an explanation of the Mesopotamian society. The main focus of this essay will be gods vs. humanity which can also be translated to morality vs. immorality. The Mesopotamian culture believed in many different gods. Since the Epic of Gilgamesh was a major writing at this time, it gives the readers a glimpse on what the Mesopotamians believed made a god different then humans. The Epic of Gilgamesh gave the readers an outlook on how the gods of Ancient Mesopotamia connected with the people and how they treated them. It shows how humans of Ancient Mesopotamia worshipped their gods. Gilgamesh known as the main character of the story, went on a quest to become immortal just like the gods. His jealousy towards the gods was that they were able to be immortal and live forever and he cannot since he was a human. Thus, he took it upon himself to find the element that will make him last forever. Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh the readers will see society’s view on the gods and the relationship they had towards the gods. The humans believed that the gods had total control of everything. They trusted that if the gods were happy then life would come to them easy and full of happiness but if the gods were not pleased then total disaster will rest upon them. This is one difference that the gods and humans had. The gods had complete control of what is to come while the humans did not. The mortals did not have this sort of power, they had to manage with what was thrown at them by the gods. Nonetheless, one thing they had in common was that they both strived to make each other happy. The mortals would keep the gods pleased and the gods would do the same in return.
An example of a mortal disobeying an immortal is when Gilgamesh was offered kingship by the god Ishtar. Ishtar explained to Gilgamesh that if he pleases her and shows his love to her then she would provide him with an amazing life. Yet, Gilgamesh ends up not taking her up on the offer. Because of him disobeying her, a god, he suffered massive consequences. Gilgamesh was one of a few that disobeyed a god. Most people did whatever they were able to, to make a god happy. The Mesopotamians seemed to have formed some sort of relationships with the gods to ensure them a pleasant life for themselves and their families. The immortals acted childish when they were not given what they asked for and because of this humans did whatever it takes to not come to that term. As the story continued Enkidu was introduced. He was brought into Gilgamesh life by the gods to maintain his awful actions. Gilgamesh was not fully human he was half god also so he viewed himself higher then humans but not technically on the same level as a god. Enkidu and Gilgamesh had become extremely close and when the gods had found out about the friendship they cursed Enkidu with a disease which lead to his death. This is another example that compares immortal to mortals. Immortals had the power to change someone’s life in seconds just because they have disobeyed them. After Enkidus death Gilgamesh fell into a despair. He realized since he is human and not a god he will also have to face death one day. After coming to that realization he decided to take action to tun himself into immortal. Throughout his mission he had come to the conclusion that no human can ever become into a god. There will always be a difference between them no matter the actins being taken. The only option he had to make sure he lived longer was through a plant that returns a human to their youth. But, even that would not make fully immortal. The gods being as a powerful as they are, they had the plant stolen from Gilgamesh before he can return back home to his kingdom. Since Gilgamesh was getting ahead of himself, the god has to remind him that he is still human no matter what and that they are still the gods and if he don’t follow their orders then he would not plead and blessed but he will end up being punished for disobeying. This is one of the major differences between the gods vs. humans. The gods are the one who set the rules and the humans are the ones who obey without any question being asked. The immortals are extremely powerful that rather makes the mortals fear them. Lastly, I believe the most important difference between a god and a human is their immorality. Gods live on forever and are worshipped by the one who don’t have the same faith known as the humans. No matter how hard a human will try to become immortal they will fail and at the end will have to face death either way. As stated in the Epic of Gilgamesh, death is like sleep everyone has to sleep and so on everyone will have to die one day. In conclusion, the Ancient Mesopotamian community believed in numerous amount of gods. The story the Epic of Gilgamesh is a great example that can be used to show the culture of the Mesopotamians and what they believed in. The Epic of Gilgamesh give us the readers a glimpse and the relationships between the immortals known as the gods and the mortals knowns as the humans. Humans did not just worships the gods but they had also communicated with them. They obeyed them endless so they can have happiness and successful life for themselves and their families. Continuing to read we learned Mesopotamia’s concepts of morality and immortality. In the Mesopotamia culture no mortal can become immortal and vice versa. For example; Gilgamesh went on a quest to become immortal and failed tremendously. This shows the readers that the Mesopotamia believed that what is mortal stays mortal and what is immortal stays immortal. We all get a great idea of Mesopotamia’s concept on death and the afterlife. Death was unstoppable no matter how hard anyone would try to stop it. Everyone had a fate and nothing can change that fate. Nothing will last forever, life passes quick, so enjoy it while it lasts. The proof behind this was Gilgamesh’s journey. He captured the plant to make him young once again and bless him with a longer life, but the plant was stolen and his whole plan had crashed. This goes to show you cant change your fate, it makes no difference how hard you try. As for the afterlife the Mesopotamians had a very dark outlook of it. They believed that life is harsh itself so there was no doubt about it that the afterlife was even worse. They imagined that all the good things in life will turn into terrible things in the after life. Surprisingly, even if an individual did no harm in life and lived an innocent/pure life it did not matter. Everyone good or bad ended up in the same underworld which they called Inkalla, house of darkness. Moral of the story every mortal ended up with the same fate, no one could escape death, also no one could become immortal. Death was what made humans-humans and there for everyone would have had to die. This what the Epic of Gilgamesh told us about the Mesopotamian concepts of morality vs. immorality, death and the after life.