1. The stages of the Hero’s Journey are very much present in the story of Gilgamesh. The stage of departure takes place when Enkidu’s call to adventure is to help Gilgamesh to become better and quit his mischievous ways. The initiation stage takes flight on their journey into the Cedar forest to kill Humbaba, the guardian of the Cedar forest. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are able to defeat the beast and kill him. Enlil is upset that Humbaba is dead, and curses the heroes. They meet another obstacle in the initiation phase which maybe the Woman as the temptress, Ishtar comes and wants to marry Gilgamesh. But Gilgamesh chooses to reject the marriage with Ishtar. Ishtar sends the Bull of Heaven. Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeat the bull. The victory results in the death of Enkidu. Gilgamesh takes Enkidu’s death very hard, for he has lost his best friend. In the stage of return, Gilgamesh takes off on a journey of his own seeking Utnapishtim. He is seeking eternal life to avoid death. In the process, he fails the tasks at hand to reach eternal life.
2. I believe the Four Functions of Mythology are active in the story Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh transforms from a beast to human such as performing mischievous acts into becoming a hero. Mystical is clear when Gilgamesh loses his best friend Enkidu. He didn’t want to accept his death but still had to press on. Cosmological is found in the unknowns of the world around Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Sociological was the social norms found in their society, hence Gilgamesh and Enkidu were both male and heroic. Psychological supported Gilgamesh through the changes that took place in his world.
3. Though Gilgamesh did not succeed in his mission for eternal life, He was able to succeed in his heroic acts to forever live on. A lot of times when one goes searching for a certain thing, they end up finding another. Take Gilgamesh for instance, he went searching for eternal life after seeing the death of his best friend but ended up finding his heroic acts will live on forever even though he may not. Gilgamesh explores the mysteries of the human condition; the relations between the gods, between nature and civilization, and a special bond of friendship. These findings are well worth the replacement of eternal youth.
“A lot of times when one goes searching for a certain thing, they end up finding another.” I also wrote something along the lines of this in my response. Even after his explorations and failures, he was still able to gain knowledge from it and use it to his advantage.
I like what you have to say about how Gilgamesh may come to terms with his mortality, but at the same time has actually been immortalized through text. It seems like a great irony that after accepting his mortality he writes down his adventures, creating a sort of immortality. The fact that we are still reading the texts now evidence enough. And I think its awesome that the importance of recording our own culture so we can reflect on what we’ve achieved or have failed at is present in the epic of Gilgamesh.