Theessay discusses the theme of the quest for immortality by examiningtwo different pieces of art, one visual and another literary. Acomparative approach is used to examine how the idea has crossed overthe time and infiltrated in the modern culture.Thefirst piece of art is the “Epic of Gilgamesh”. This epic poememanated from the ancient Mesopotamia and was written in 2000 B.C.The poem was first written in Semitic (Akkadian) language. The modernversion of the poem was translated and written by R. CampbellThompson from the original tablets found in the British Museum. Thesecond article is the Statuettes of Worshippers from the squaretemple at Eshnunna in Sumeria which is currently known as Iraq andwas written in 2700 B.C. The article presents the culture of theSumerian within the periods of 2900-2350 B.C (Dimock 23)
Themain idea in these pieces of art is the relationship between humanbeing and gods. Gods are the supernatural and immortal beings thathumans tried to appease in a different ways. The link that binds thetwo stories is the quest of the humans to acquire immortality. As aresult, the central theme in these two articles is the pursuit ofimmortality by the mortals who were the humans (Dimock 29).
Theepicof Gilgameshand the Statuettesof worshipershave an inference to the ancient life of the Iraq people. Thearticles portray the religious experience regarding worshiping andnorms of conduct in the society. Ideally, the two pieces of artreflects how people in the ancient Iraq lived and believed in theirgods. The stories depict the society of gods who shaped the beliefs,structure and culture of the people in ancient Iraq. Lastly, the twopieces have the same historical background. The origin of thearticles is traced back in Mesopotamia which is currently known asIraq (Cregan 230).
Thecultural ideologies influenced the two pieces of art. For example,religious beliefs and social conduct have a significant impact on thetwo pieces. People in ancient Iraq lived to appease gods indifferent ways. People believed that the gods were responsible fortheir wellbeing, immortal and lived separately from the human beingsin special temples. These beliefs shaped up the structure and cultureof the society as people lived in conformance with the laws andexpectations. For example, people of Uruk prayed to god Una to tamethe ill behavior of King Gilgamesh of misusing his strengths.Similarly, individuals in the Mesopotamia used priest to access godin special temples such as Tell Asmar, Tell Agrab and Khafaje (Cregan234).
Theauthors of the two pieces of art have a similar approach in thepresentation of their work. Both authors are descriptive in nature.In each piece, the gods and characters are described in details. Theauthors outline the looks of the gods, their role to the humankindand their behavior. Additionally, each artist ends his work withhumans failing in their quest to acquire immortality. For exampleking, Gilgamesh returns home reconciled to his mortality (Aruz 65).
Acomparison between the two pieces of art brings a contrast on how thetwo authors approached the quest for immortality. In Statuette ofWorshippers, people tried to reach immortality status by appeasinggods. This phenomenon is evident by the fact that the statues withoversized eyes were intended to symbolize the eternal wakefulnessnecessary to fulfill their duties. However, in the epic Gilgameshquest of immortality begins with the confrontation of the gods andends in with King accepting mortality at the end (Aruz 71).
Thetwo pieces of art have a significant positive and adverse impact onthe contemporary society. Both pieces try to answer the mysteriousquestions about immortality. This phenomenon sparks fresh innovationand discoveries towards human immortality. For example, KingGilgamesh went to an expedition to seek immortality from end of theworld. Similarity organization such as Center Medical Education andInnovation in the US has set up different scientific and health caretechnologies to discover prolonged life in the human cell. Manyscientists and philosophers are scrambling to answer this implausiblequestion on immortality. However, the negative impact gives animpression that humans will eventually fail in the quest forimmortality (Zettler 35).
Thecultural norms and beliefs explained in this piece of literature havecontinuously influenced the beliefs and practice of the presentsociety. People still believe that they are supernatural beings thatare responsible for their life and always act and judge inconformance with the will of the supernatural beings. Christians andMuslims still appease God to acquire eternal life in heaven (Zettler42).
Thetwo literature material teaches the modern society that spirituallyis a virtue that helps us not appeases the divinity but to have goodinterrelations with others in the society. However the literatureteachings are parallel to current community in the sense thatimmortality in the current society is more focused to theinterconnection of passion and purpose rather than the physical questof living forever (Zettler 43).
Inconclusion, the quest for immortality is a universal theme thattranscends through different cultures, religion, and ethnicity allover the globe. Every ethnicity has one time tried to achieveimmortality in various ways. However, the hunt for immortality stillprovides a heated debate on what it actually means. Is the eternalspiritual fulfillment or eternal life? The quest is still undersubjective opinions depending on each individual’s perspective orschool of thought.
Aruz,Joan. "The Impact and Significance of the Statue ofUr-Ningirsen." MuseumInternational 61.1/2(2009): 68-73. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 31 July 2016.
Cregan-Reid,Vybarr. "The Gilgamesh Controversy: The Ancient Epic andLate-Victorian Geology." Journalof Victorian Culture (Edinburgh University Press) 14.2(2009): 224-237. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 31 July 2016.
Dimock,Wai Chee. "Recycling the Epic: "Gilgamesh" On ThreeContinents." EnglishLanguage Notes 51.1(2013): 19-33. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 31 July 2016.
Zettler,Richard L. "Reconstructing the World of Ancient Mesopotamia:Divided Beginnings and Holistic History."Journalof the Economic & Social History of the Orient 46.1(2003): 3-45. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 31 July 2016.