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The story of Gilgamesh in the literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and that by Homer, Iliad, brings out the perspective in which human character and actions are based. In both the literatures, the relevance of divine action or intervention tends to limit the utility over which human beings live their lives or seek for an everlasting life. Significant to this concept is the Genesis readings in the Hebrew Bible which tend to illustrate the fate of the events which would befell the human kind if he or she deems not to act according to God’s demand. More so is the story of Oedipus the King, which depicts fate as not determining each and every action, occurrence or event, but rather defines the outcome of individual’s life. Based on Homer’s poem, Iliad, divine intervention is only a discrete occurrence which happens for itself rather than for human character and behavior. This write up thus, discusses the relationship of human character and behavior with divine intervention in illustrating the above statement.
According to Butler (1), divine intervention is set out by Homer in his poem, Iliad, as only to fulfill the wishes of gods or as punishment for dishonesty displayed by human kind. In the poem, gods are angered by the fall out between them and human being (son of Atreus). The poem notes “Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaens,” (p.1). It adds that, “For it was the son of Jove (god) who was angry with the king and sent pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of Atreus had dishonored Chryses his priest.” In this case, Chryses, the priest was a point man of god to make people to act as required by god.
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In the poem, Iliad, Agamemnon does not respect Chryse, the priest as the rest of Achaens. He therefore fiercely speaks to him and roughly sends him away. But at the turn of the event, Butler (1) notes that Chryse (Old man) kneels down by the shore of sounding sea, and prays to King Apollo to avenge his tears which have been caused by the disrespectfulness of the people of Danaan. Significantly, his prayer was heard by King Apollo who came down from the summit of Olympus and furiously through his arrows, he shot them thereby causing more death. This denotes that the concept of divine intervention is only engaged upon the human kind for supernatural posterity in order dictate human behaviors and characters.
While the above notion is factual about divine intervention, what comes out clearly is how it forms the basis in limiting the utility over which human beings seek everlasting life. The story of Gilgamesh evidently stipulates this concept. According to Kovacs (1), Gilgamesh is denoted as a perfect man created by god and given authority over the land. The poem states, “Anu (Lord of Uruk) granted him the totality of knowledge of all.” He could discern the secret and well as discover things that were hidden. It adds, “Offspring of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh is strong to perfection.” This shows that Gilgamesh’s call for everlasting life was only showered by gods’ intervention.
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However, when Anu (Lord of Uruk) had of many complaints about the arrogance of Gilgamesh, he contacted Aruru (who created mankind) in order to create Enkidu to counter Gilgamesh. Kovacs (1) notes that, “Gilgamesh did not leave a daughter to her mother” it adds, indeed, “You have brought into being a mighty wild bull.” These sentiments as captured in the poem tend to come from oppressed citizens of Uruk who were being suppressed by Gilgamesh actions. Therefore, for the young women of Uruk, Gilgamesh’s oppressive actions signified lord’s right of sleeping with newly married women on the night of wedding. This signified the ancient cultural and social roles which were being played by women in the society.
On the other hand, poem’s notion that “Gilgamesh did not leave a son to his father,” and actually exhaust them through tests to strengths or even forcing them in building projects denotes how dictatorship evolved during the ancient times. Kovacs (1) notes that Gilgamesh who was two-third god and one-third man forcefully determined the destination of young men as he forced them to labor in building protects.
According to Kovacs (1), Enkidu was created in the same image as Gilgamesh. In the poem, Anu claims to Aruru, “It was you, Aruru, who created mankind, now create a zikru (Enkidu) to him. Let he be equal to Gilgamesh’s stormy heart.” This is to ensure that Gilgamesh is punished for his advances. While Enkidu, a wild man, created by goddess meets Gilgamesh in the wilderness thereby trying to help him to seek everlasting life. Together, they kill the Bull of Heaven that was sent by goddess Ishtar in order to punish Gilgamesh. It is for such events that Enkidu is being sentence to death by the gods.
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Significantly, Gilgamesh’s journey to face the waters of death depicts how human’s life is only guaranteed by divine intervention. According to Kovacs (1), Gilgamesh’s agitation to seek everlasting life was even opposed by Utnapishtim, a boatman who had been granted immortality. To her, Utnapishtim explains to Gilgamesh that death was established by gods as inescapable destiny and therefore, would only punish him thereby not allowing him to be the king he fights for. Utnapishtim states, “You (Gilgamesh) inherited your father’s mortality like everything in mortal world. Therefore, you are subject to death.” This denote that Gilgamesh just like other human beings should accept that mortal or death is part of human life which are solemnly determined by the human creator.
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On the other hand, death as divine intervention to punish human for going against Creator’s command is evident in Oedipus the King story by Sophocles. According to Hebrew Bible, Genesis 3:27, God offers the penalty of death to human kind after eating the forbidden fruit. The verse acknowledges that having know the difference between wrong and right, just as God did, man was not to be allowed to eat fruits from the tree because he could live forever (p.4). Oedipus the King story depicts the same. More significantly, is in chapter seven where God sends the wrath of flood to kill the disobedient people leaving out the obedient Noah’s family.
The above immediate incident is similar to Oedipus story where Lauis abducted and raped Chrysipus, god’s servants, thereby violating the sacred laws. According to Rao and Wolf (1), Laius’s actions caused his descendants to be casted upon by the wrath of death which was anxiously fulfilled when Oedipus killed King Lauis, his biological father. Based on the story, this was a fulfillment of oracle’ prophesy that denoted God’s agitation to punish mankind for evil they did. Additionally, Oedipus is portrayed as trying to kill himself due to fate that had befell him on realizing that he killed his own biological further.
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In conclusion, the human fate and free will to desire to live longer has been noted as based on divine intervention. The paper has pointed out to divine intervention as forming the basis for which human beings live and behave. It is clear that there is need for intellectual understanding among human beings on how to behave or engage in order not to befall the wrath of death which is spelled out to those who disrespect God.