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Gilgamesh Out of the Dark and into the Light Without light we wouldnt know dark Without cold we couldnt know hot These systematic dualisms of associated polarities Honderich 734 or binary oppositions are used to illustrate meaning in the story of Gilgamesh The story of this epic hero Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu is one of conflict between wild and civilized immortality and mortality love and hate These are all binary oppositions which give the characters and the reader the meaning of the story The meaning for the reader occurs through difference Literary Criticism An Overview 2 These oppositions are related to each other by their conflicting nature Both refer to the same thing such as what it is to be human but the meanings of the words are established through their inherent differences and their relationship to each other within that confine We notice these oppositions not just by simply reading the story and becoming aware of them but through the simple use of words and the consistent structure of the work The poem is divided into lines which are often connected by parallel meaning These parallel meanings akin to the use of major and minor keys on a piano piece come together to form the whole One compelling example of the use of polarities is found in the beginning of the text where we learn that Gilgamesh is part god and part man and Enkidu is part man part animal Gilgamesh was called a god and man Enkidu was an animal and man It is the story of their becoming human together Mason 15 7-11 It is here we realize that an inherent difference exists between the two Gilgamesh is somewhat civilized yet he is a tyrant to his people a compassionless ruler enslaving his people while he is longing for more Sometimes he pushed his people half to death And left his people dreaming of the past
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