Gilgamesh Vs Ecclesiastes Essay, Research Paper
Ecclesiastes vs. Gilgamesh
In both of these stories, there is a spiritual crisis that awaits being noticed. I think that in both of these stories, there is an underlying theme that death has the final say in our lives, and that there is not really much that we can do about it. In learning that our time will come, we tend to look at things, especially our lives, in different ways.
In Ecclesiastes, the major spiritual crisis is that we must admit that death has the final say in our lives. This is something that all people must come to terms with and accept. Although the main spiritual crisis in Ecclesiastes is the fact that death is evivitable, other crisis arise from the actual book. There are many apparent contradictions between statements in Ecclesiastes and other Old Testament books. For example, verse 9 says ‘the dead know nothing; they have no further reward’, contradicts with the Biblical view of life after death, heaven, etc.. Qoheleth says his views are based on his own reasoning and ‘what is done under the sun’. Qoheleth tried to determine life’s meaning by using his own ability of observation and experience. Although some of these views coincide with the traditional views of the Bible, the fact still remains that death will overcome us all.
The presence of death is something that can turn one?s views on life completely around. It is something like this that would make us take our lives more seriously, something that one should look forward to doing anyway. We learn through chapter 9, where it states that man should rejoice in his works and in his world; this should be followed and strived upon to make our lives more complete. If we do this, realizing that our deaths are inevitable, we would enjoy our lives more and we might not think about death as much, untill our time has come.
Some of these same themes arise in Gilgamesh, where Gilgamesh himself comes to terms with his own fate once his beloved friend Enkidu passes on. Untill this point, Gilgamesh was under the impression that he would live forever. He believed that he would remain immortal like the gods of ancient Greek history, but to his surprise, he was mistaken. I guess it would really be a smack in the face if one day you believed you would live forever and the next, you knew that death was upon you.
This story is very similar to that of Ecclesiastes in that both books show that death is inevitable. It was hard to realiize for Gilgamesh, but he too had to come to terms with the idea that death does have the final word in our lives. After his best friend, Enkidu, dies, Gilgamesh is overcome with sorrow, not only for the loss of his fiend, but also in realizing that he is next in line to meet his maker. It is here that he begins to understand the idea that Ecclesiastes is trying to get at which is we are here on this planet for no good reason; we were born to die. Like in Book 9 of Eccleciastes, Gilgamesh realizes that he must be happy with his life and the world around him. This obviously required change on Gilgamesh?s part.
The personality change that he goes through proves to show that he is a better person by the end of this story. First, the quest for immortality after the death of Enkidu shows that Gilgamesh has changed. Gilgamesh becomes frightened when he realizes that he isn?t immortal. After the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh tries to find immortality by trying to cross the ocean to find it. He sounds pathetic as he rambles of his reason for trying to find everlasting life. His state of being at this part in the book, which is the end, is completely different from his arrogant beginning of this epic. It is evident that Gilgamesh has gone from an arrogant to a scared being through the course of the book. In realizing that death is upon him, Gilgamesh?s eyes have been opened and he now fully understands the concept of joining his friend in death.
In conclusion, I feel that the major ideas of both of these books are identical. Coming to terms with the idea that death does have the final say and that we are not going to live forever is a hard thing to do, but it must be done. All we can do is live our lives to the fullest while we are still here and simply await our own time in which we will pass on to something better than this cruel world.