The Epic Of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that dates back to more than 4000 years ago. This Sumerian poem was written on clay tablets and is known as the first documented work of literature. The Gilgamesh Musical consists of two acts that are presented with narrations and songs.
Act I: Gilgamesh, The King of Uruk
Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is created of two-thirds god and one-third man. Although godlike in body and mind, he was perceived as a cruel king due to his desire to constantly advance his kingdom. Gilgamesh built magnificent temple towers and surrounded his city with high walls with forced labor. The gods heard the pleas and discontent of his people and decided to balance Gilgamesh’s power and reign by creating a wild man named Enkidu.
A hunter discovers the untamed Enkidu damaging his grounds and pleads to Gilgamesh for help. Gilgamesh, by using the power of wisdom, tells the hunter to send a female companion into the wilderness to tame and civilize Enkidu. The civilized Enkidu hears about Gilgamesh and travels to Uruk to challenge him. The two men wrestle and Gilgamesh finally prevails. They become close friends and start their adventure by killing the terrifying demon named Humbaba.
Upon their return, Ishtar, the goddess of love, is overcome with lust for Gilgamesh and is rejected by him. In spite, she asks her father Anu to send The Bull of Heaven to punish him for his actions. Hesitant at first, she finally convinces Anu. Gilgamesh and Enkidu wrestle with the bull and kill it. As a result of the goddess Ishtar being disrespected by Enkidu, the gods agree that Enkidu is going to die. He takes ill, suffers immensely, and when he finally dies, Gilgamesh is heartbroken.
Act II: In Search of Immortality
Frightened for his own faith after Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh sets out to discover the secret of eternal life. During this adventurous trip, he passes through Mashu twin peaks that are guarded by human-scorpion creatures and visits the garden of the goddess Siduri to obtain directions that lead him to Utnapishtim. Finally, he meets Utnapishtim who has survived the great flood and was rewarded eternal life. With the help of Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh finds the plant of eternal life but he loses it to a snake on his way back to Uruk.
Disappointed from the result of his journey, Gilgamesh seeks permission from the gods to talk to Enkidu’s shadow and to learn about life after death. In his conversation with Enkidu’s shadow, Gilgamesh learns that it is not possible to have an eternal life, but to become a better person to his kingdom and his people so that his legacy and fame can have eternal life. As a result, he becomes a reborn king dedicated to his people and kingdom whose legacy lives on forever