What Are the Character Traits of Gilgamesh?

Gilgamesh was a fierce warrior, an ambitious and effective king, a good friend, a slave driver, and a womanizer. He was part god and part man, a combination that made him struggle with his greatness as well as his humanity.

Among men, Gilgamesh was seen as one of the greatest. His strength was superhuman, and while he did possess wisdom, he was also proud, a character trait that often got in his way when it came to making the best decisions. Gilgamesh worked hard to build walls around his kingdom, Uruk. His need to be remembered drove him, so he worked his people ferociously to help him build these walls. He took the men from his kingdom to fight long, weary battles. He also took children from their families to work for him. He had a habit of sleeping with any woman he chose.

Gilgamesh did mature with age, however. He became best friends with Enkidu, and this relationship helped Gilgamesh calm down and see the more important things in life, such as friendship and love. When Enkidu died, Gilgamesh lamented and also became fearful for his own mortality. He abandoned all the wealth and glory of his former life and began to search for the secret to eternal life. His journey allowed him to come to terms with his mortality. In doing so, Gilgamesh returned to his kingdom and became a greater king than he was before.