Failure of a Godly Person to Demonstrate a Lesson

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Gilgamesh aspired to escape death and searched to the ends of the Earth for immortality. Icarus had a much more mundane goal, he merely wished to see the lands below him in a more glorious fashion during his flight towards his homeland. By ignoring the lesson the story is meant to convey, the protagonists of the myths experience a great fall of some sort, Icarus’ fall much more literal.

While Gilgamesh’s epic contains a multitude of lessons, the primary focus of comparison is that of his search for immortality in response to the death of Enkidu, his greatest friend. In his despair, Gilgamesh sought out Utnapishtim, the survivor of the first great flood and who was granted immortality, to teach him the secrets of eternal life. While Gilgamesh succeeds in finding his “golden egg” of sorts, he is challenged to stay awake for a single week as a test of worthiness. Gilgamesh immediately succumbs to the mortal vice of sleep but is given a second chance through a weed that if consumed will grant him an escape from death. He also fails in this endeavor by allowing a snake to steal and eat the weed, once again stealing his escape from mortality. The tale of his search is a narrative of the fall of a godly being, wherein Gilgamesh abandons his post as king and lord to try to escape the inevitable. Through his fall, Gilgamesh learned that death was an inescapable and impartial end to all mortal beings and that one must relish what experiences they can have during life’s duration.

The story of Daedalus and Icarus is one of father and son, and their efforts to return from their exile to their homeland. Daedalus, the great inventor, and architect wished to feel the soil of his home between his toes once again as he had grown hateful of Crete, his bastion during his exile. Daedalus made two sets of wings made of tar, pitch, and feathers to bring both himself and his son across the lands and seas of Crete through the sky, the only realm that king Minos could not deny them.

Daedalus instructed Icarus on the mechanisms and the importance of the flight path, the final instruction was simply to follow Daedalus as similarly as possible. If they flew too low, the feathers would be dampened by the sea’s mist and make them too heavy, too high and the tar would melt causing the feathers to fall away, making their lift too sparse. In their flight, Icarus admired the islands and seas below him and disregarded his father’s instructions to fly higher and see more of the land’s beauty. In his naivety, Icarus flew too high and melted away the tar of his wings and plummeted into the sea below, and to his death. In his final moments, Icarus learned far too late the importance of moderation, and that the extremes of anything can be a dangerous path to follow.

While the lessons of these myths are vastly different, death and moderation, they provide a method of living that can coincide with one another; live life to the fullest but remember to indulge in moderation. The lessons themselves were conveyed through a great fall from glory, and the end of their ride through extravagance. This method of conveyance is quite effective, as the reader likes to place themselves in the shoes of the protagonist while they are in positive and preferable circumstances to experience their glory and pleasure by proxy. While in this circumstance, the fall of the protagonist is equivalent to the fall of the reader without the consequence or trials, but still providing the lesson.

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Failure of a Godly Person to Demonstrate a Lesson. (2021, Nov 25). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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