Research Papers on Myth in Gilgamesh
Have the literature writers at Paper Masters help you understand the various aspects of the mythological within Gilgamesh. Myth in Gilgamesh research papers attempt to discuss two of the functions of myth that are exhibited in Gilgamesh. These two functions of myth in Gilgamesh are as follows:
- The first of the functions of a research paper on myth in Gilgamesh is to offer an explanation of certain aspects of one of the most universal aspects of human existence—the need to die.
- The second is to present to the world an ideal of correct and admirable behavior.
The examination of myth in Gilgamesh research paper states that the epic drives home to us certain things about death.
- Most importantly, it tells us that it is for humans (and even humans such as Gilgamesh who is two thirds divine) universal.
- Gilgamesh is a great hero, of matchless strength and prowess, but his attempts to defeat death are futile.
- Gilgamesh is unable even to resist sleep for a week—how then could he be expected to resist the permanent sleep that is death.
The Gilgamesh research paper notes that the relationship between sleep and death is much noticed in classical literature and in ancient Middle Eastern scriptures. His descent to the bottom of the sea to find the plant that has the power of restoring youth is successful, but it proves futile because this plant is later snatched away by a serpent. This myth poeticizes the meaning of death, gives emphasis to one of the most important aspects of its nature, utter universality.
One of the characteristics that Gilgamesh possesses in common with many mythological characters is the status of having a mixed divine/human parentage. He is two-thirds God and one third man. Moreover, the fully divine members of the Mesopotamian pantheon display a particular interest in him, i.e., he is God-marked. The god of the sun has endowed him with beauty; the god of the storm has given him courage; collectively, “the great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others.” Here is a person that seems purpose-built to fulfill an heroic, extraordinary role in the world, to build cities, go on journeys, and deal one-on-one with the gods themselves.
The mythical function of mixed, divine-human origin and of a special relationship with the Gods is fairly obvious and is found in many myths and religious beliefs. Lineal association with the divine obviously lends great stature to a hero; it gives him a special credibility. Thus, in Homer, Achilles, greatest of the Achaens, is the offspring of Peleus, human king of Phthia, and Thetis, a divine sea-nymph. This same kind of parentage serves a political purpose in Virgil’s Aeneid, for his hero, the Homeric Aeneas--whose father was the human Anchises and whose mother was Aphrodite--is the founder of Rome and his semi-divine origin serves to legitimize the Roman state. Jesus Himself has a mixed parentage and an obviously “special relationship” with the divine. The mythological and dramatic functions of such personages is a way of making a statement to the audience, a statement that says, “What is happening in this story is something big, something that involves cosmic forces—pay close attention.”We should remember that the classical myths, and certainly Christianity, are still alive in the sense that they still generate culture. A hundred years ago “classical education” gave every well-educated person a knowledge of Homer and Virgil and these myths are still very much with us not only in terms of producing literature (Joyce’s Ulysses), but also in a great deal of popular culture as well. The theme of mythic heroes and religious personages of semi-divine origin will probably never wholly disappear no matter how “secular” our culture becomes. It speaks to something too elemental in human desires to completely fade away.