The main character in the novel is Gilgamesh. He is a character that is very self-confident. He feels that he is superior to others, due to the fact that he is two-thirds god and one-third man. This arrogance leads to his being cruel at the beginning of the story. Gilgamesh is described as, a two-thirds of him divine, one-third human… Gilgamesh does not allow the son to go with his father; day and night he oppresses the weak… Gilgamesh does not let the young woman go to her mother, the girl to the warrior, the bride to the young groom (tablet I, column ii, 1, 12-13, 27-28). Gilgamesh is a man with no equal, so he feels superior.
Although he starts out cruel he develops into a very kindhearted man. He is extremely supportive of Enkidu and encourages him in various situations. When the men are fighting Hubbub Gilgamesh says, a [you] will surpass all of them… a friend who knows battle understands fighting… stand, friend, we will [go up] together (tablet IV, column vi, 29, 31, 37). he also exhibits his sensitivity when Enkidu dies. He says, ãFor Enkidu, for my friend, I weep like a wailing woman, howling bitterly… an evil has risen up and robbed mean (tablet VIII, column ii, 2, 6). As a result of Enkiduâs death, Gilgamesh also shows that he is afraid of death. Gilgamesh denies the fact that he too will die one day. He goes on a quest searching for immortality, which ends up being pointless. Through these actions Gilgamesh shows that he is denying the fact that he is mortal. At one point he says, ãt the fate of mankind overtook him [Enkidu]… in fear of death I roam the wilderness… me, shall I not lie down like him, never again to move (tablet X, column ii, 3, 8, 13-14). These thoughts result from Gilgameshâs being part of god.
Also, Gilgamesh is thought of as a hero. All the townsfolk view Gilgamesh as being a wonderful man defeating the most horrific enemies. The townsfolk say, ã Gilgamesh is the best formed of heroes (tablet VI, column vi, 184). Gilgamesh starts as a cruel and arrogant character, however, he emerges as a strong, kindhearted hero.
The other significant character in Gilgamesh is Enkidu. Enkidu starts out as a wild savage. He lives with the animals of the forest. He, ãfed with the gazelles on grass; with the wild animals, he drank at waterholes; with hurrying animals his heart great light in the waters (tablet I, column ii, 39-41). As the novel continues Enkidu is transformed into a man. He becomes very good friends with Gilgamesh. Enkidu is a very loyal man. He shows great loyalty to Gilgamesh, helping him fight against various animals. They fight Hubbub and the bull of Heaven together, defeating them both. Enkidu also is supportive of Gilgamesh. When Gilgamesh fears fighting Hubbub Enkidu says, hurry up, step up to him, and do not let him go. Climb to the woods, [do not be afraid] a (tablet IV, column v, 43-44). Enkidu is very loyal and encouraging, supporting Gilgamesh through various situations.
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