The Epic of Gilgamesh Questions and Answers

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Why does Enkidu's death affect Gilgamesh so strongly in the Epic of Gilgamesh?

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At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh rules as a ruthless tyrant who is both revered and feared by his subjects. As a semi-divine king, Gilgamesh does not fear death and never contemplates his own mortality. After hearing the cries of Gilgamesh's subjects, the god Anu creates Enkidu to rival the brutal tyrant. Gilgamesh ends up defeating Enkidu, and the two become inseparable friends. Together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu travel to the Forest of Cedar, where they defeat the monster Humbaba. On their way back to Uruk, the heroes end up killing the Bull of Heaven, which incites the wrath of the gods, who decide to end Enkidu's life.

Enkidu's death significantly impacts Gilgamesh's outlook on life and forces him to acknowledge his own mortality. Before the death of his best friend, Gilgamesh thought nothing of his own mortality, but he suddenly becomes fixated on his own impertinence after Enkidu dies. Gilgamesh then seeks Utnapishtim in hopes of discovering the secret to immortality....

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