DongHyun Suh Essay Gilga1

DongHyun Suh Essay Gilga1 - Dong Hyun Suh Mosaic I Captone...

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Dong Hyun Suh Mosaic I Captone Project: The Epic of Gilgamesh Sheila Paulos March 17, 2009 The Balance Between Nature and Civilization In The Epic of Gilgamesh, trees are an important motif; their changing states parallel the transformations of the two heroes, Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Until the end, the two struggle to balance their two states: the near-divine Gilgamesh struggles to reconcile himself to his humanity; Enkidu struggles to balance his origins in wilderness and his role in civilization. In the end, only Gilgamesh resolves to reside both as human and divine, while Enkidu fails to balance wilderness and civilization, and eventually dies. Trees, which also live between earth and sky, attend and illustrate the heroes’ transformations. Trees represent many different stages of Enkidu’s transformation, for example, his origins in nature. Enkidu is made in the likeness of nature itself: half man, half beast. Therefore, it was predestined for him to become the king of the animals in the Cedar Forest. The epic characterizes him as a creature whose “body is matted with hair, bears long tresses like those of a woman: the hair of his head grows thickly as barley” (5). Through his animalistic tendencies, he is able to coexist with other creatures in the Cedar Forest. Symbolically, Enkidu was protecting the trees and their surrounding living things, which represent nature, from the hunters who represent civilization. Nevertheless, Enkidu is suddenly introduced to human life by the temple prostitute Shamhat’s seduction. This sexual experience with Shamhat transforms Enkidu’s
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DongHyun Suh Essay Gilga1 - Dong Hyun Suh Mosaic I Captone...

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