(1) Yes, I can identify the stages of the Hero’s Journey in the story of Gilgamesh. At first, Gilgamesh is a terrible ruler. He is arrogant, dominating, and brutal. Uruk’s people did not like him. They wanted someone to be created that would act as a counterweight for Gilgamesh, hoping that it would straighten him out. In turn, Enkidu was created. He was part wild animal and part human. When they Gilgamesh and Enkidu met, they were determined to destroy one another. However, they formed a tight friendship. They are almost like mentors to each other, helping one another with things they fall short on. They become too high on their horse, and Enkidu falls out. He passes away. This irks Gilgamesh! He then wants to begin his transformation of immortality. Finally, he returns to Uruk as a changed ruler.
(2) The Four Functions of Mythology are alive and active in the story of Gilgamesh. At each part within the story, Gilgamesh learns something about himself. He transforms himself little by little, depending on who he meets along his journey. At the end of the story, Gilgamesh has completely transformed. It represents the transitions of a human life, going from childhood to adulthood, and from adulthood to death.
(3) Gilgamesh had a very successful journey! He was able to turn his life around, based on his learnings of his encounters. The greatest part of his journey was becoming friends with Enkidu. Enkidu was able to teach him a lot about himself. Even though Gilgamesh failed to return with the Plant of Everlasting Life, he was able to gain more knowledge. Not returning it didn’t stop his life. It made himself, as a person, stronger. It shows us that even though we may fail at something, we always have the opportunity to take something from that failure and learn from it. Every step we take, gives us more knowledge for the next day.