The Epic Of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that dates back to more than 4000 years ago. This Sumerian poem was written on clay tablets and is known as the first documented work of literature. The Gilgamesh Musical consists of two acts that are presented with narrations and songs.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is about the human's desire for immortality. Sumerian king, Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, learns about immortality through adventures in his long journey to Utnapishtim’s place to obtain the immortality plant. Finally, after losing hope in getting the immorality plant, he is set on his way back to the city. With the help of trusted shamans he enters the netherworld and meets his dead friend Enkidu. In conversation with Enkidu's soul, he learns about the life and death and the purpose of human's journey on earth. Throughout his adventure, Gilgamesh transforms into a mature being with kind soul and becomes a great king. His story of transformation is told for thousands of years and his legacy is preserved forever.

Synopsis

ACT I: Gilgamesh, The King Of Uruk

Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, is created of two-thirds god and one-third man. Although godlike in body and mind, he was perceived as a cruel king due to his desire to constantly advance his kingdom. Gilgamesh built magnificent temple towers and surrounded his city with high walls with forced labor. The gods heard the pleas and discontent of his people and decided to balance Gilgamesh’s power and reign by creating a wild man named Enkidu.

A hunter discovers the untamed Enkidu damaging his traps and pleads to Gilgamesh for help. Gilgamesh tells the hunter to send a female companion into the wilderness to tame and civilize Enkidu. The civilized Enkidu hears about Gilgamesh and travels to Uruk to challenge him. The two men wrestle and Gilgamesh finally prevails. They become close friends and start their adventure by killing the terrifying demon named Humbaba.

Upon their return, Ishtar, the goddess of love, is overcome with lust for Gilgamesh and is rejected by him.  To get revenge, she asks her father Anu to send The Bull of Heaven to punish him for his actions. Anu was hesitant at first but finally gets convinced by Ishtar. The Bull starts flying over the Uruk and destroying the city but Gilgamesh and Enkidu wrestle with the bull and kill it.  Ishtar becomes very upset when Enkidu disrespects her in the public. As a result, the gods agree that Enkidu is going to die. He becomes ill, suffers immensely, and when he finally dies, Gilgamesh is heartbroken.

ACT II: In Search Of Immortality

Frightened for his own faith after Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh sets out to discover the secret of eternal life. He knew about Utnapishtim's immortal life and wants to learn his secret. During this adventurous trip, he passes through Mashu twin peaks that are guarded by human-scorpion creatures and visits the garden of the goddess Siduri to obtain directions that lead him to Utnapishtim. With the help of a ferryman named Urshanabi, he passes through the sea of dead and meets Utnapishtim. He had survived the great flood and was rewarded eternal life. With the help of Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh finds the plant of eternal life but he loses it to a snake on his way back to Uruk.

Disappointed from the result of his journey, Gilgamesh seeks permission from the gods to talk to Enkidu’s soul and to learn about life after death. In his conversation with Enkidu’s soul, Gilgamesh learns that it is not possible to have eternal life, but to become a better person to his kingdom and his people. That way his legacy and fame can be eternal. As a result, he becomes a reborn king dedicated to his people and kingdom whose legacy lives on forever.