(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.
I agree with you in that friendship was one of the factors that led to the transformation of Gilgamesh. Good work. I also agree with you in that Gilgamesh was arrogant at the beginning and friendship was able to transform this quality for a more wise person.
I like what you say about Gilgamesh learning from his mistakes that makes his story a success. I think that the fact this texts were so wildly read based on how tablets have found shows how important the message of the story was. Gilgamesh starts as an immoral brute who’s strength separates himself from humans. As Gilgamesh’s story ends and he comes back to Uruk to write of his journey, and of his failures, it shows a human side to Gilgamesh that readers can easily relate to. I imagine the story of Gilgamesh is so popular and widely read because he is such a relate able character by the end, and because he inspires readers to look for ways to learn from their own mistakes.
I like the idea of Gilgamesh becoming a stronger person in the end, but didn’t he ultimately give up on his quest? I agree that his humbleness and much less brutish personality is better for those he is leading. Maybe it is possible that the story was so prominent at that time because there were a lot of barbarians and brutes that needed to calm down and treat each other fairly and the people who were making the tablets wanted people to be more civilized.