In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh goes between his conscious and unconscious in order to uncover and solve his problems and figure out his own fear of death. Gilgamesh is a king who has negative impact on his kingdom. He forces people to build walls and oppresses and wrongs the people. Throughout the epic, he is struggling with the gods, his kingdom, and most importantly himself. Early stage of Gilgamesh, he lived a life away from consciousness; unable to see his experiences, and for the most part an instinctive, sensory existence. He is unware of a lot of this personality and I called this shadow. The shadow is you, but has the opposite personality. The shadow in the epic is Enkidu, he is completely different from Gilgamesh, he is uncivilized and a beast-like human however they both have authority and vigor.
When Enkidu and the gods had to entered Gilgamesh’s life and fatefully altered his life. Enkidu, half-man/half beast become the best friend of Gilgamesh. Enkidu truly contradictory elements start to show. For example, when Gilgamesh suggested to Cedar Forest and fight the monster Humbaba, Enkidu joins his friend on the adventure. Over the journey, Gilgamesh kept having nightmares, Enkidu acted as an interpreter and always tell him the outcomes are positive. Enkidu became the leader and guided Gilgamesh every time when he freaked out. One solid evidence is when Humbaba pleaded for his life, Enkidu mocked Gilgamesh why he is afraid, “Why my friend, are you whining so pitiably, hiding behind your whimpering?” (5.89-90). And then Enkidu convinced Gilgamesh to kill the monster. This killing ponders me, is Enkidu smart enough in not believing what Humbaba said? Or this is another psychological jealousy on the part of Enkidu when Humbaba’s suggestion that he and Gilgamesh are best friends.
In both ways, Enkidu and Gilgamesh helped and guided each other. Gilgamesh turned into a hero figure, and Enkidu got ahead of his fears. Because of Gilgamesh appearance Enkidu transformed from the wild-man life to an ordinary man life. He thought Gilgamesh as a friend and that is something only human would think. For Gilgamesh, Enkidu’s love and companionship helped Gilgamesh realized his consciousness which Gilgamesh had been cruel. On the way, back home after the journey, Gilgamesh met Ishar, the goddess of fertility. She wanted him to marry her, but Gilgamesh refused and insulted her. Ishtar is a negative character, who caused Gilgamesh to demolish himself with the Bull of Heaven incident. Because Enkidu killed the bull and caused his death. With Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh went crazy and eventually took Enkidu’s shadow and those characteristics. Gilgamesh took on the beast-like personality when Enkidu first displayed where he now searches for immortality shown here the fear of death but he failed becoming immortal. When he returned he however won his wish of immortality but in a different meaning, he found his true self through the journey. By encountering all the experiences represented his unconscious dreams and events and he discovered himself through his unconscious findings.
Their relationship never changed, not even after Enkidu’s death. Before he died, Enkidu cursed and denied “I did not kill the Cedar (from the forest)” (7.22). From the psychological perspective, Enkidu is going through the stage of denial and blame others here, is some very human traits. However, when the god Shamash pointed out he wouldn’t have met Gilgamesh, Enkidu’s emotions changed and now he blessed Shamhat and accepted his fate as the price of his friendship. In conclusion, Gilgamesh transformed to be a wise and fair leader. His reformation proves that death is not unpleasant. The true meaning of life is follow the right path and have determination. This epic shows that any individual can discover their inner mind through understanding of different experiences and the inner self will break into individuals’ unconscious.