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Monomyth - The Epic of Gilgamesh

Describes the journey of legendary character Gilgamesh in relation to the hero's quest.

Lee Hobbs

on 17 July 2013

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Transcript of Monomyth - The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh: The Hero's Quest
The Hero is introduced into his ordinary world.
Gilgamesh is introduced as the king of the ancient city-state of Uruk. He's two parts god, and one part man, and his people view him as arrogant at this point in the story.
The call to adventure
Gilgamesh hears about the beast Humbaba, and along with his new companion Enkidu, sets out to kill the beast and make a name for himself.
The hero crosses the first threshold.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu enter the forest guarded by Humbaba. Enkidu is still fearful, while Gilgamesh is saying "it ain't my time to go yet".
Gilgamesh and Enkidu arouse Humbaba who is quite angry and begins setting fire to the forest around them. They are on the losing end of things... for now.
The hero reaches the supreme ordeal.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are losing and call on the god Shamash to paralyze Humbaba, showing that Gilgamesh is not full god, but human and vulnerable. Gilgamesh is also tempted by Humbaba with a palace and other enticing offers.
The hero gains his reward or treasure.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay Humbaba. While this is good, there are negatives associated with it. The god Enlil is quite ticked, as well as the godess Ishtar, who is rejected by Gilgamesh.
The Road Back
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are faced with the mighty Bull of Heaven, which they kill. Enkidu dreams the gods have already going to kill him for it, and is quite angry until the god Shamash calms him some. Enkidu has another dream of death and dies shortly after. Gilgamesh is greatly saddened by the loss of his friend and begins a search for immorality.
The hero enters the 'innermost cave' or the 'belly of the whale'.
The Ressurection
Gilgamesh meets Untapishtum, the only human with immortality, and hears his story, asks about immortallity, and is faced with the challenge of staying awake for a week, which he fails. Untipishtum tells him he can also gain it from a plant, which he retrieves for a deep body of water, then loses it to a snake while bathing. Disheartened, Gilgamesh begins his journey home.
Gilgamesh returns to Uruk exhausted and disheartened. But he instantly feels better when he sees the great walls of his city, and his pride is restored. Along his journey he has learned how to cope with loss, immortality is unachievable, and that he is still part human and thus, imperfect, among many other things.
Return with the 'elixir'
Full transcript