Should now innocent Enkidu die!' Then Enlil became angry at Shamash, saying: 'it is you who are responsible because you traveled daily with them as their friend!"' (“The Epic of Gilgamesh” Tablet 7 Lines 9-15). First there is really no arguments that needed to be heard with regard to how the gods decided that someone should perish for the deaths that Gilgamesh instigated on the course of his adventures. The decree of the Gods sometimes did not spring from any rational consideration or from any sane notion of right and wrong, but that being partly human themselves, prone to being swayed by such baser emotions as anger and the desire for revenge, the gods ruled on things with a touch of whimsy, and a lot of subjectivity. They decreed like humans did when their more passionate natures ruled over rationality and a keen sense of justice. We are made to understand from the epic that it was to this group of gods, a committee meeting with their own subjective agendas, that Enkidu and Gilgamesh must ultimately place their lives There is always a kind of terror from being at the mercy of the whims of a person who may not always act rationally or for the best interests of those whose lives they have control over. Certainly in the case of Gilgamesh too the very notion of the existence of Enkidu was premised on Gilgamesh the flawed human and part god acted in ways that made his subjects suffer. It is in this kind of backdrop that the fears of Enkidu relating to death is founded. The gods have decreed that he must die, and there is no arguing with the gods once they have decided that he must die. This notwithstanding the fact that it was Gilgamesh after all who did the killings, and it was Enkidu who did warn Gilgamesh against going through with killing Humbaba. No, all these mitigating circumstances did not matter. What mattered to the gods was that someone should die, and that in this case they chose Enkidu to pay for the lives of the Bull of Heaven and of Humbaba (“The Epic of Gilgamesh”; Brown; SparkNotes; Annenberg Foundation; Hooker). This whimsical nature of the ways of the gods and of the way they arrived at Enkidu’s death sentence however is not the primary reason why Enkidu feared death. Sure he was bitter to the point of even regretting having crossed paths with the people who ultimately led him to his encounter and friendship with Gilgamesh, but this bitterness is something that is separate from what made him fearful about death. He was fearful of passing away primarily because of the visions that he had of death, grim and full of dark foreboding, and the opposite of the happiest days that he had known on earth. He feared death first and foremost because it was the end of all that he had lived for, and the beginning of what could be described as an eternal harrowing experience in a world that is bleak and devoid of sunshine, dark, a world of dust, as he described in the vision that he shared of life after death. The vision of death and what it was like came to him in a dream, that he shared to his friend Gilgamesh. Where it filled him with fear, it filled Gilgamesh too with a sense of dread and a sense of resignation with regard to the fate that awaited not just Enkidu but Gilgamesh too and all men (“
Epic of Gilgamesh: Why Enkidu Fears Death Table of Contents Why Enkidu Fears Death 3 Works Cited 7 Why Enkidu Fears Death In tablet seven we get to understand that the price that Enkidu and Gilgamesh had to pay for the slaughter of Humbaba first and of the Bull of Heaven second one of them had to perish, and it was decided by Enlil, in conference with Shamash who vehemently and emotionally made protestations about the whole notion of someone dying…
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