Gilgamesh
Attribute Yes No
Born of Noble Birth X
Responsible for own fate X
Has a tragic flaw X
Doomed to make a serious error in judgment X
Falls from great heights or from high esteem X
Realizes he has made an irreversible mistake X
Faces and accepts death with honor X
Meets a tragic death X
gilgamesh.JPG
A relief of Gilgamesh in the Louvre Museum, Paris

1. Intro of Gilgamesh of Uruk 2/3 god and 1/3 human. Cruel ruler, who is punished by the gods, by means of Enkidu a savage man, who is “tamed” by a woman.
2. Enkidu want to marry the woman, but Gilgamesh wants to sleep with her. Enkidu tries to stop him, and they fight. Gilgamesh stops, and they become close friends.
3. Gilgamesh want to travel to Cedar Forest to cut famous trees and kill a demon, for his own glory. Gilgamesh tells his mother, who asks Shamash (another god) for support.
4. Gilgamesh en Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. He has bad dreams, which are explained to be good omen.
5. They finally reach the demon. Another epic battle starts, which is won by Gilgamesh and Enkidu with the help of Shamash’ 13 winds. They kill the demon after the demon begs for his life, and then curses the two heroes.
6. A goddess wants to sleep with Gilgamesh, who rejects. The goddess wants revenge, and sends the Bull of Heaven. Without help, Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill it, and offer its heart to Shamash.
7. Dream of Enkidu: The gods decide that someone needs to be punished for killing the Bull of Heaven. Enkidu becomes very ill, so Gilgamesh prays to Shamash for better health for Enkidu.
8. Gilgamesh offers gifts to the gods for the sake of Enkidu, but it doesn’t work.
9. Gilgamesh leaves Uruk, so he won't see Enkidu die. He is shocked, so he tries to become immortal, so he goes to Utnapishtim.
10. He is sent to a ferryman, who will be able to bring him to Utnapishtim. He is finally able to cross the “Waters of Death”
11. Our hero finally reaches Utnapishtim. He orders him not to sleep for a week, then he will be given immortality. Gilgamesh sleeps immediately, so he failed. He has another chance. He must travel to the bottom of an ocean, for a plant which gives immortality. He manages to do it, but it is stolen by a snake.

Tragic, or not?

Gilgamesh could have accepted the goddess, so he didn't have to kill the Bull of Heaven.
Or he could have captured the Bull and tame it, just like Enkidu before.
But on the other hand, rejecting a goddess is not what most people would do, and capturing and taming the Bull of Heaven is not an everyday job.
It is tragic, or course, to lose a close friend, an adopted brother even.
Another irreversible mistake was when he rested on the beach, where his flower of immortality was stolen. He should have looked after it with more care. But he could not have known what would happen.
Therefore, we think Gilgamesh is not a 'tragic hero' with every aspect, but he was tragic (lost a close friend) and he was a hero (killed a demon).

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