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Three Ways to Justice

  • Date Submitted: 05/15/2011 03:10 PM
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Three Ways to Justice
The Aenied by Virgil, The Odyssey by Homer, and The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell, are all classic pieces of Literature.   As a theme, justice is important and it manifests itself in all three of these classic works.   This paper will examine how all three epics incorporate justice into their culture and it will then examine the role each of their respective gods play in implementing justice in each poem.  
Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Stephen Mitchell, the concept of justice is discussed. Early on in the story the woods man becomes upset at Enkidu, part man part god who is born into the wild and very quickly becomes close companions with Gilgamesh, because Enkidu makes it impossible for the man to hunt.   In book one, on page 75-76, the woods man comes to Gilgamesh, the protagonist who is two thirds god and one third man as well as the ruler of Uruk, and presents Gilgamesh with his conflict between himself and Enkidu and gives an answer. The response Gilgamesh gives the man is one of justice, as though issued by a judge.   Gilgamesh tells the man how to ruin Enkidu, which results in a fair allotment of justice for Enkidu’s behavior.   In the first lines of book three, Gilgamesh tells Enkidu that together they must bring justice to the world by killing Humbaba, the frightening evil spirit who safeguards the Cedar Forest which is off limits to mortals, “Now we must travel to the Cedar Forest, where the fierce monster Humbaba lives.   We must kill him and drive out evil from the world.”(pg 91). So together the two companions went and brought justice to earth by removing the evil.   A third instance of justice is when Ishtar, the goddess of love, punishes Gilgamesh for not doing as she asked.   This is the first time we see the involvement of the gods in justice and punishment.   In book six, pages 135-137, Ishtar attempts to seduce Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh, knowing how cunning Ishtar can be, blocks the goddess’s...


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