Gilgamesh Vs. Noah And The Flood Essay

This essay has a total of 1098 words and 4 pages.

Gilgamesh Vs. Noah And The Flood




Gilgamesh vs. Noah
By


It is said that life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it. It is not the
circumstances of life that determine a person's character. Rather, it is the way a
character responds to those circumstances that provides a display of who he is. "From the
Epic of Gilgamesh", as translated by N.K. Sandars, and "Noah and the Flood" from the Book
of Genesis, both Gilgamesh and Noah face similar circumstances, but don't always respond
to them the same way.

Accepting immortality and the ultimate powerlessness to be in control of death's
inevitability is something that both Gilgamesh and Noah encounter. Gilgamesh faces the
death of his closest companion, Enkidu, with hopelessness, fear, and anger. "In his
bitterness he cried, 'How can I be at peace? Despair is in my heart. What my brother is
now, that I shall be when I am dead. '" (p. 141) To Siduri's questioning, Gilgamesh
responds, "Because of my brother I am afraid of death, because of my brother I stray
through the wilderness and cannot rest." (p. 144) Noah, faced with the impending death of
everyone except his own family and the pairs of creatures joining him in the ark, is
unquestioning and obedient in following God's instructions. After the instructions about
the animals that he is to take into the ark, "Noah did so; just as God commanded him, so
he did." (p. 172) When God tells Noah that He will blot out all of creation in forty days
and forty nights, "…Noah did just as the Lord commanded him." (p. 171 and 172) Both of
the characters deal with death; respond differently, thus resulting in contrasting
outcomes.

Both Gilgamesh and Noah build arks because of an impending devastation of the earth by
rain and flooding. Shamash had warned, "In the evening, when the rider of the storm sends
down the destroying rain, enter the boat and batten her down." (p. 147) God told Noah,
"For in seven days' time I will make it rain upon the earth, forty days and forty nights,
and I will blot out from the earth all existence that I created." (p. 172) Both boats were
built to detailed specifications in order to withstand the torrents of rain. Following the
cessation of the rain, both Noah and Gilgamesh send out birds as a test of the recession
of the waters so that they can safely exit onto the land. Gilgamesh sends first a dove,
then a swallow, and then a raven, who, "…saw that the waters had retreated, she ate, she
flew around, she cawed, and she did not come back." (p. 148) Noah first sends a raven
which, "…went to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. " (p. 173) He
then sends a dove that returns to the ark having found no resting place. After seven days
Noah again sends the dove which returns with an olive leaf in its bill. "Then Noah knew
that the waters had decreased on the earth. He waited still another seven days and sent
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