Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 4 | Words: 1024
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

While Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest survived works of literature, Cameron’s Avatar is an American movie produced in 2009 with the help of the newest technological devices. Despite the huge difference in age, the main characters of these two works have much in common. Being brave and sometimes cruel warriors, they both meet real friends who make them reassess their values, change their ideas about love, death and, as the result, they both start living different lives.

In the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is described as a brave, all-mighty king who, at the same time, is unspeakably cruel. He spreads terror by killing people and raping women, “Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother / The daughter of the warrior, the bride of the young man”. It comes as a surprise that Gilgamesh transforms from a warrior into a real friend. Enkidu manages to reveal the best qualities in Gilgamesh such as love and compassion. Before meeting Enkidu, Gilgamesh reminds a god, but in his relationship with Enkidu he is a real human being: he rejoices, suffers, and, which is even more important, he is helpless when facing death. Gilgamesh used to be extremely self-centered, but Enkidu makes him think of other people. One good example of such a change is the flower which could bring people their youth. Gilgamesh mentions that he wants to bring it to his land and let old men become young again.

Gilgamesh’s outlooks on life change completely when Enkidu dies. This was probably the first time in his life when he faced death of someone he loved, “Buthis (Enkidu’s) eyes do not move, she touched his heart, but it beat no longer”. He spent seven days and nights at Enkidu’s body not believing she was dead. Gilgamesh does not imagine his life without his soul mate, “I am going to die”. Gilgamesh experiences feelings typical for every person who loses dear people: on the one hand, it is horribly painful to watch someone you love die, but on the other, it is better to love and lose the person than not to love at all.

Really, Gilgamesh thinks that “evil Fate has robbed” him. Previously, he was a mighty warrior whose life was a success and now he is consumed by grief. It pushes the hero to set off on a quest of immortality. From now on, his life acquires different meaning. On his way, the warrior meets different people and creatures who teach them that death is just as important as life and that these two phenomena are inseparable. Every human being is going to die, but humanity is going to exist much longer. So, Gilgamesh decides that the only thing that goes the last after he is gone is his glory. Being a good leader, he’ll stay in the memory of his people. Thus, having lost a friend, Gilgamesh finds immortality.

While Gilgamesh is half-god who acquires human qualities, Jake Sully is a human being who later becomes something different. Jake appears to be a former marine, a brave warrior, just like Gilgamesh. He has no fear, and when it comes to fighting, no pity. He has a job, plans for the future and a goal — he wants an expensive surgery to make his legs work again. All of this loses its sense when he meets Neytiri, a Na’vi. When Jake arrives at Pandora, he sees that the Na’vi, unlike Earthlings, live in complete harmony with nature, they do not consider themselves to be better than any other creature on the planet. Neytiri happens to be a person who helps him to see the world from absolutely different angle.

As his perspectives on the life broadens, Jake’s life changes and his goal become different. At one moment he thinks, “Everything is backwards now. Like out there is the true world and in here is the dream” (Avatar 2009). After falling in love with Neytiri, he has no other choice as to start a new life which means ruining the previous one. Jake realizes that violence is going to destroy everything and everyone on that planet, so he sacrifices his life on the Earth to stop the destruction. When Jake and Na’vi started fighting the Earthlings back, his human body dies which means that he will have to stay on Pandora forever. This option would seem unattractive if he did not meet Neytiri. She taught him how to love, to care and be compassionate. This could be seen from the way he kills animals before and after becoming one of the local people.

There are some other changes taking place in Jake’s life and they concern his attitude towards life and death. Just like Gilgamesh, and as any other human being, he finds it very painful to lose a dear person. First, he loses his brother, and it is very hard for him to cope with his feelings. Next, his friend, Dr. Grace, is killed. He does everything possible to save her, but death is inevitable. Although death of friends hurts, Neytiri suggests Jake her own explanation why it happens, “She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back”.

All the changes in Jake are absolutely conscious, he is aware of the fact that he is becoming different. When he sees what people are doing to Pandora, and what will be the consequences of their actions, and realizes that he loves Neytiri and does not want to lose her, he decides to become one of the locals. Meeting Neytiri and connecting with Pandora and Na’vi was his second birthday, “Na’vi says that every person is born twice: the second time is when you are in your place among the people forever”. Only then he fully understands the meaning of the words “I see you”, and says them to Neytiri.

So, Gilgamesh and Jake are self-sufficient people, brave and daring. Their soul-mates reveal the best human qualities in them. These two men are afraid of losing their friends, and having faced death, they seek immortality. However, love towards others helps them understand there are eternal things which are more important than life.

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