1. The story of Gilgamesh, I believe, does contain some of the stages of a Hero’s Journey. At first I was assuming that Gilgamesh would be the hero in this story, for he does crave adventure, has a turning point/life lesson. However, Enkidu is made from nothing (hero’s typically come from lower class?). Furthermore, Enkidu first meets Gilgamesh when he stops him from entering a young brides chamber. He has a true hero’s personality and calling to do good. Also, after Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends, they go on adventures together to cut down the sacred trees, and in doing so have to defeat the monster Humbaba, Enraging the gods, one must be punished and Enkidu is choses. His sacrifice seems to me a heroic thing to do.
2. The functions of mythology are present, I would say that the sociological part is clearer to me. It is an extremely old myth that still exists today and tells of a cultures lessons by using fables and even sometimes parables. I feel like mythes could be very complex to write because you are trying to get a point across by writing in fables and what not and either consciously or subconsciously incorporating the different functions of mythology.
3. I see Gilgamesh’s journey as a success, for he transformed out of a young man whose sense of adventure was satisfied by inflicting others, and he was transformed into an adult who had a sense of what life was really about. As odd as I found this story to be, I think that it achieved some well developed stages of a Hero’s Journey and relayed some important lessons.
At first I was not looking at Enkidu as a hero but the way you put it, makes a little more sense as to why he could be. At first, and I came referring to Disney movies, but Enkidu was to Gilgamesh as Timon and Pumba was to Simba, at least from my perspective. But they area all heroes. Myths today I also feel like are still important but not as highly believed in or held to such a high power like they used to be, but that may also just be our culture. I completely agree although he did not reach his original goal, he still had some sense of what he had achieved in the long run and was eventually a better person because of it.
I agree with you that Enkidu was not a normal sounding hero but by the end of it, he definitely emerged as a great one. In regards to the third question, I completely agree with you that Gilgamesh did not fail just because he did not bring back his original goal, but he still came back a better man and for that, I labeled it a success.
I also thought Enkidu was a hero. He definitely had the characteristics of having no parental figures, a lowly birth that Humbaba ridiculed him of, and he had an inherent sense of nobility that Gilgamesh lacked. Before being civilized, he protected animals, and after, he protected farmers and wished to protect the people or Uruk.