The Epic of Gilgamesh Questions and Answers

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How is wisdom depicted in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

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The Epic of Gilgamesh primarily presents wisdom as acceptance of change, in particular death. Gilgamesh is distraught by his friend Enkidu's sudden death, which leads to a greater terror of his own mortality. He tries to find a way to become immortal, only to be told again and again that this is impossible. The goddess Siduri tells Gilgamesh outright to enjoy the good things in his life, such as small material pleasures and the affection of loved ones.

The better way of achieving immortality is to do great things that will be remembered through the ages. Gilgamesh does not live forever, but he does become a great king, remembered fondly by his people.

In the end, Gilgamesh only becomes wise when he gives up his quest to live eternally. Wisdom is accepting that life is inseparable from change.

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, wisdom is depicted as the recognition of one's impermanence—that is, one's mortality and vulnerability to the transformative forces of nature. Gilgamesh seeks immortality yet...

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