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Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Epic of Gilgamesh. J. Tracy Luke and Paul W. Pruyser. Pp. 73-93.. Psychoanal Q., 55:552-553.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Epic of Gilgamesh. J. Tracy Luke and Paul W. Pruyser. Pp. 73-93.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:552-553

American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Epic of Gilgamesh. J. Tracy Luke and Paul W. Pruyser. Pp. 73-93.

George G. Fishman

The authors attempt an analysis of the 4000-year-old Mesopotamian epic discovered at the end of the nineteenth century. Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, is arrogantly preoccupied with getting his fill of sexual delight. His divine goddess mother

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is instructed to fashion his double in order to teach him restraint. Thus Enkidu is placed on earth. Enkidu's own wildness is tamed by a harlot, and he is brought to meet Gilgamesh. The two become devoted friends and set off on adventures which indulge their hubris. In the process Enkidu is retaliated against and killed. Gilgamesh, in panic and despair, attempts to cross the waters of death to find Utnapishtim, the one man to have gained immortality. Gilgamesh hopes to acquire immortality for himself, but is frustrated in his quest. He returns to Uruk, having been subdued by his adventures and having accepted his mortality. The authors credit Bennett Simon with part of the inspiration for their analysis of the epic. They state: "Hidden within emotional crisis are the seeds of new insight and growth." Both the reference and premise are credible. Unfortunately, the rest of the analysis is not. They attempt to squeeze Gilgamesh into both a Freudian and an Eriksonian framework. In effect, they inadvertently create a last trial for the epic hero: suffocation.

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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXIX, 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 55:552-553

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