Gilgamesh/ The Clone Wars
Translation from http://www.aina.org/books/eog/eog.pdf
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The gods had sent a Great Flood to destroy the world. Now that civilizations have begun anew, Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, has become the most powerful, though cruel, ruler in the world.
The gods heard the people of Uruk’s pleas and created an equal to Gilgamesh in the wild-man Enkidu.
With a new great friend at his side, Gilgamesh is certain he can vanquish any foe. But, when Enkidu falls ill, Gilgamesh finds himself on a journey—physically and emotionally—he never expected…
The Clone Wars
A galaxy divided! Striking swiftly after the Battle of Geonosis, Count Dooku’s droid army has seized control of the major hyperspace lanes, separating the Republic from the majority of its clone army.
With few clones available, the Jedi generals cannot gain a foothold on the Outer Rim as more and more planets choose to join Dooku's Separatists. While the Jedi are occupied fighting a war, no one is left to keep the peace.
Chaos and crime spread and the innocent become victims in a lawless galaxy. Crime lord Jabba the Hutt's son has been kidnapped by a rival band of pirates. Desperate to save his son, Jabba puts out a call for help—a call the Jedi are cautious to answer…
Our legacy is what succeeding generations will remember us by. Whether they are legacies forged by our own inscriptions or imposed upon us by our posterity, they are how we might live on long after we ourselves are gone. Some legacies are physical, tangible testaments to our lives, while others are passed down as lessons to be learned and applied by the recipients as they see fit or are able. Regardless of the kind of legacy, positive or negative, tangible or intangible, we will have one day have one.
The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of a dastardly king and his eventual run-in with mortality, upon which he for the first time must question what kind of legacy he hopes to bear. Gilgamesh began as a cruel king in Uruk, absolutely abusing his subjects to the point that even they themselves were compelled to pray to their gods that their wrongs be accounted for. In response, Enkidu was created as Gilgamesh’s equal. Enkidu did not necessarily convince Gilgamesh to change his ways, but he did soften Gilgamesh’s heart enough to befriend him, which would eventually lead him on a path towards change.
The Clone Wars film was the first step in fleshing out dozens of characters and introducing many more, helping us better understand what legacy many characters left to the Galaxy after they were gone. This film introduces Ahsoka Tano, a padawan learner assigned to not-yet-Jedi-Master Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka will go on to become one of the most important characters in the lore. The lineage of masters and padawans that Ahsoka and Anakin belong to is dynamic and unconventional, not to mention tragic. Ahsoka was trained by Anakin, a Jedi who broke nearly all tenants of his order, especially the forbiddance of amorous relationships, and would eventually become the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Anakin was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, who himself was not necessarily a rogue Jedi, but he certainly allowed for Anakin’s mid-mission antics, and was trained by Qui-Gon Jin, a Jedi known for his disagreements with the ways of the Jedi Council and their ever-subtle movement away from what he believed were its values. Qui-Gon was apprenticed to Count Dooku, the very defector fought throughout the film and separatist leader who himself was a Sith. But Dooku’s betrayal was not before training under the master of all Jedi, Yoda, head of the Jedi Council and perhaps the most powerful Jedi ever known. Each of these Jedi were shaped by the legacies of their masters, just as their trainees were shaped by their own legacies. Not only are each shaped by the actual training received or given, but the clout of their very associations.
Qui-Gob’s legacy was most obvious. His mastery of the balance between the Living and Cosmic Force allowed him and eventually Yoda and Obi-Wan to commune with other Jedi, especially Luke Skywalker, even in death. Master he may have been, but Yoda was forever marred, even if more internally than anything else, by the legacy of his padawan. The very same was true of Obi-Wan with regards to Anakin after his transformation into Darth Vader. Yet, Ahsoka was effected by Anakin’s legacy in an entirely different way. She had presumed Anakin dead after most of the Jedi were killed by Order 66 and only remembered him as the passionate and righteous Jedi she trained under. As such, her perception of his legacy was a driving factor in her participation in the onset of the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War. Legacies, like most everything, are a matter of perspective. For some, Anakin has a positive legacy, while for others, he had a horrendous one.
Gilgamesh’s legacy suffered the same subjectivity. Prior to setting off on his great journey with Enkidu, Gilgamesh was hated by all of his subjects. Even after he left, it would be hard to imagine those he charged in his stead with power assuaged Uruk’s people of their hatred. But, Gilgamesh went on a long and life-changing journey that eventually did make him conscious of his legacy and how he was shaping it.
The reason the gods created Enkidu in the first place was as a response to Uruk’s pleas to be spared of Gilgamesh’s evils. Their cry for help was not answered by having Gilgamesh’s ways change. Their cry was answered by having Gilgamesh remove himself from direct power. It was not until the gods had Enkidu die of an incurable disease that the actual journey towards self-awareness began. Engulfed with (selfishly directed) grief, Gilgamesh began to seek the source of immortality. After being denied immortality and having the next-best-thing literally stolen from him by a snake, Gilgamesh finally conceded to return home. It was finally upon his massive losses and gazing upon his city that he came to realize he did not need physical immortality to live forever. He needed only for his legacy to live on through the greatness of Uruk. In this coming to peace, Gilgamesh was able to spend the rest of his life working towards the kind of legacy he desired. Whether this legacy inevitably wrought a foundation for Uruk to one day reach the kind of greatness that Gilgamesh himself never could deliver is a question lost to history. Nonetheless, it is the very question that legacies beg of us all. Will what we leave behind be interpreted and used in such a way that regardless of how I was seen in my own life, my greatest attributes will allow for those beyond to be great and greater? For most who lived under Gilgamesh’s grip, they would never be able to forgive him for his evils. Perhaps though history would absolve Gilgamesh for the greatness he might have set his people up to achieve.
My favorite quote from The Clone Wars that best summarizes the idea of legacy comes when Ahsoka is boasting to some clone troopers about her first victory in battle. Captain Rex asks Anakin, “Is that true, sir?” And Anakin simply replies, “Well most of it.” Anakin is in a position of power over Ahsoka’s legacy. He could intervene and shoot down the way in which the clones regard her, or she can allow the clones to go on listening to Ahsoka tell her story. A story that may well be passed all around the ranks and instantaneously begin mold Ahsoka’s legacy to beyond just the interactions she has, but to the very emotions, memories, and responses people have to the idea of Ahsoka and the content of the story being shared.
In a lead up to the release of Rogue One, on Thursday I am going to explore Tarkin by James Luceno and a parable from the Christian Bible through the theme of "Belonging."