A Wise King Or A Foolish Hero? Gilgamesh is a character that evolves throughout the epic of Gilgamesh. Throughout the first half of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as courageous and heroic on a quest of terror with his great companion Enkidu. In the end after accepting that he too will have to die and be subject to fate, Gilgamesh settles back into his city setting, only this time to be a wise king rather than the foolish hero he once was. Gilgameshs character is something a reader might question after reading the first half of the epic, because Gilgamesh is forceful and acts as if he answers to no one. Another characteristic of Gilgameshs personality is his dependency on companionship from Enkidu. Early in the epic it is shown how sovereign the people think Gilgameshs rule is: There was no withstanding the aura or power of the Wild Ox Gilgamesh. Neither the fathers son nor the wife of the noble; neither the mothers daughter nor the warriors bride was safe.(I ii 31-34) This passage proves the people know he is a strong man. It also shows us that the people do not find it surprising if Gilgamesh starts to become involved with another mans wife. Another time, we find Gilgamesh is going to take the bride of a man if Enkidu does not intervene and stop him (II&III iii 60-70). These are only a few of the times Gilgameshs character loses its status among the readers. Actions similar to these also made the elders question his leadership: Is this the shepherd of the people? Is this the wise shepherd, protector of the people?(I ii 35-36) They obviously thought he was not up to par in his duties as a king. It is surprising that with a person as dictating and forceful as Gilgamesh, he still longs for and needs human companionship. We see he will have a companion that will not forsake him when Gilgameshs dream is interpreted by his mom.(I iv 166-179) Even though we know this toward the…
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