Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey into the wilderness; pursuing the king’s desire for personal glory, the two have left Uruk to seek out the ‘forest demon’, Humbaba. Gilgamesh has vowed to kill the demon and cut down the Great Trees of the forest, seeking to prove his own might and carve his name in the annals of memory.
His mother, the goddess Ninsun, had blessed the two brothers in arms before their departure… but had offered advice; the gods know the value of free-will and the necessity of choice. His people had begged their king to set aside this quest, and he had scoffed, having no value for the opinion of those he should have served. Even Enkidu, who had stood beside him on many a quest, tried to persuade him against the journey, knowing that the apparently fearsome Humbaba is none other than Huwawa, the Great Spirit of the Cedar Forest. Gilgamesh chose to see only cowardice in his brother’s concern, shaming and manipulating him into agreeing to the quest.
Friendship with Enkidu had appeared to temper the ego and arrogance of the King, but the ego, jealous of its standing and self-image, continually strives to reassert itself. Gilgamesh, who has been hailed as the greatest of kings and the mightiest of warriors, has never consciously questioned his own supremacy… yet the heart of arrogance is shaped by insecurity and feels a constant need to prove itself to itself and all others. On the journey into the wilderness, Gilgamesh begins to show his true colours.
As they travel towards the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh and Enkidu take it in turns to watch and to rest, unaware that, even here, they are within the realm of Huwawa, whose influence permeates their dreams. When Gilgamesh sleeps, he denies remembering any dreams, although Enkidu seems to have shared them as a half-waking vision. When Enkidu sleeps, the dreams are his alone…
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