HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 31 no. 2 (2002)

Immortality Lost: Existential Themes in Gilgamesh and Other Hero Epics

Leni Dlr. Garcia

Discipline: Literature, Philosophy



In this article, the author interprets the hero epic, Gilgamesh, within an existential framework, showing one way through which the study of myth becomes relevant to the philosophical quest for a meaningful life. Using Gabriel Marcel's terminology, the author discusses Gilgamesh 's ordeal upon realizing that he is not immortal, unlike the gods, through his search for immortality and the frustrated quest. The author then identifies Gilgamesh 's primary and secondary reflections, leading to his meaningful acceptance of mortality.