Appearances Can Be Decieving Essay, Research Paper
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
“The Monument” from Elizabeth is a reflection of the character Gilgamesh in The Epic of Gilgamesh. At first glance they both appear to be perfect and immortal. It is not until we take a closer look do we see their flaws and imperfections. The appearances are important in these two works. The way the viewer describes the monument is similar to the way a viewer would describe Gilgamesh. Both subjects are beautiful and unique but they are not perfect. They both have flaws that must be examined. The flaws do not make the monument or Gilgamesh any less unique than they really are. In fact, we will see that these flaws are essential to their existence. In the first section of the poem, the monument is described as unusual and unique.”It is of wood built somewhat like a box. No. Built like several boxes in descending sizes one above the other” (Bishop). Have you ever seen a monument made of wood? I do not think so. However, this element is what makes it so unusual. A monument is only unique if it has elements never seen before. Gilgamesh, like the monument, has very distinct features. Gilgamesh is the greatest person you can ever see. He is the most perfect and handsomest of all. He is the mightiest of all, “supreme over king, lordly in appearance” (tablet I, line 28). Gilgamesh is as mighty as a wild bull. Nothing can stand in his way. When he wants something he goes after it. His strength is unstoppable. Gilgamesh is “two-third of him god, one-third of him is human” (tablet I, line 46), which explains his enormous strengthen.In the second section of the poem, gloominess shadows the monument. Its appearance is deteriorating.”All the conditions of its existence may have flaked off the paint.” Or so it seems.The monument is no longer flawless. Its age and cracks are visible to the naked eye. The imperfections on the monument are a consolation to us. The shedding of its skin allows us to see what the monument really looks like. It is only appropriate that we see these imperfections on the monument because nothing created by man can be so perfect, not even a monument.After the unexpected death of Enkidu, the first friend and companion he ever known, Gilgamesh became aware of his own vulnerability and mortality. He never knew a lost like this before. Gilgamesh starts questioning his own existence. “I am going to die!- am I not like Enkidu?! Deep sadness penetrates my core, I fear death, ” (tablet IX, lines 2-4). How could the mightiest of all have a breakdown? In the final section of the poem, we see that the natural conditions of the monument give life to it. “The monument’s an object, yet those decorations, carelessly nailed, looking like nothing at all, give it away as having life, .. ” (Bishop). People want to look at something that they can relate to. When we take a close look we see evidence of its struggle against the elements. It appears cracked and unpainted probably as a result of strong sunlight, the wind from the sea or the rain beating down on it. The artist-prince leaves the impression of himself, of realism, in the monument. We cannot relate to something that is perfect.Because Gilgamesh is two-thirds god, we think that he cannot face misfortunes.It misleads us to think that he does not have human feelings; therefore he does not know what it is like to feel sadness. We are proven wrong for this assumption.Gilgamesh said to the tavern-keeper, “Six days and seven nights I mourned over him (Tablet X, line61). Gilgamesh finally speaks of his inner feelings. He had to suffer misfortune in order to gain real knowledge and become real to us. Up until the time of Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh has never seemed human to us. As viewers we forgot that he is one-third human.We were deceived by his mighty appearance.
As we have seen the first appearance of an object may be perfect, but as we look closer we see that the imperfections serves to make the object real. Nothing in this world is perfect; therefore perfection does not exist. The only real thing that exists is faults and flaws. We have seen Gilgamesh who is powerful and almighty and we are deceived by his god-like characteristics. We fail to look beyond that and see his humanly characteristics, which is real proof of his existence. In “The Monument,” the monument is detested because it is unpainted and cracked. However, the weariness of the monument gives us the sense of realism. We can relate to it because we know what it is like to be worn out. Its faults allow us to appreciate it. We should all follow the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” because if we do, we will always be deceived by appearances. Things may not always be, as it seems.