An Archetype Critical Analysis In The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by N. K. Sandars, and Genesis, the King James Translation, we find several examples of archetype, specifically in the characters. The definition of an archetype is a character, symbol, plot or theme that recurs often enough in literary works to have universal significance. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is a half mortal and half immortal man who is king of the city of Uruk. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are two reflection creations of God, creator, which are the start of the humanity.
Therefore in the literary works, The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis, we can compare characters, settings, symbols, and plots. In the literary works, The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis they were several symbols which meant different things. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the rose with thorns represented immortality, meaning that man who consumed would become young man. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim spoke the about rose with thorns when Gilgamesh took a pole and brought the boat in to the back: Gilgamesh, you came here a man wearied out, you have worn yourself out; what shall I give you to carry back to your own country?
Gilgamesh, I shall reveal a secret thing, it is a mystery of the gods that I am telling you. There is a plant that grows under the water, it has a prickle like a thorn, like a rose; it will wound your hands, but if you succeed in taking it, then your hands will hold that which restores his lost youth to a man. (Gilgamesh, “Return,” 14) Utnapishtim secret leaves Gilgamesh in a thoughtful mood, leading Gilgamesh to go get the flower. In Genesis, the Tree of Life represents the start of humanity, meaning the first human beings were Adam and Eve.
The setting of The Epic of Gilgamesh is Uruk, the homeland of Gilgamesh where he was king and epic hero. The setting of Genesis is a land created by God, which was different from earth where Adam and Eve lived in. In the literary work, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh was described as epic hero. In the literary work, Genesis, Adam was described as the caller of God’s creations. Gilgamesh was tough, though share-full with the people he really cared about. As his best friend Endiku, was killed by a cursed of a goddess, he was willing to give up his life for revenge for his fallen friend.
In his lament for Endiku, Gilgamesh describes the grief he feels for his fallen friend by saying: Hear me, great ones of Uruk, I weep for Endiku, my friend, Bitterly moaning like a woman mourning I weep for my brother. O Endiku, my brother, You were the axe at my side, My hand’ strength, the sword in my belt, The shield before me, A glorious robe, my fairest ornament; An evil Fate has robbed me. The wild ass and the gazelle That were father and mother, All long-tailed creatures that nourished you Weep for you. (Gilgamesh, “ Lament,” ll 1-14)
Gilgamesh represents his sadness and anger for Endiku with those comparisons. In the other hand, Adam risked his freedom to save Eve from being punished alone, by telling God that he had first bitten the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life. Also Gilgamesh is knowledgeable about some of the gods’ secrets, which no human being knew. In The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis both had plots which caused the literary works to have a turning point all the way. In the literary work, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the main plot is the flood sent by the gods trying to destroy the all the existing humanity in the world.
Ea in Gilgamesh’s dreams warns his about the flood: Reed-house, reed-house! Wall, O wall, hearken reed-house, wall reflect; O man of Shurrupak, son of Ubara-Tutu; tear down your house and build a boat, abandon possessions and look for life, despise worldly goods and save your soul alive. Tear down your house, I say, and build a boat. These are the measurements of the barque as you shall build her: let her beam equal her length, let her deck be roofed like the vault that covers the abyss; then take up into the boat the seed of all living creatures. (Gilgamesh, “Flood,” 12)
The rise of the plot is that Gilgamesh is told that the flood was coming, and to construct a ship to survive the flood. In the literary work, Genesis, the main plot is when Eve grabs a forbidden fruit from a tree and bits on the fruit, by that action, Eve gets punished by God. The rise of the plot is that Adam does the same as Eve, bit on a forbidden fruit, to get punished by God and not let Eve get punished herself, risking his freedom. In literary works The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis, both stories included archetypal characters, symbols, settings and plots.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, though the qualities make him an epic hero are he is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and tough when it comes to dealing with important things. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are very unpredictable characters because the creator, God, already knows what bad and good they are going to do. Both literary works, The Epic of Gilgamesh, are very alike in some ways, for example when Gilgamesh and Adam fight for the person they really admire. The main point of an archetype is to tell us about the characters, symbols, themes, and plots are in a story.