Mortality

Mortality is a driving force that shapes Gilgamesh and Marjane Satrapi in their respective characters and defines critical turning points in their journeys.  Both the unknown author(s) of Gilgamesh and Satrapi herself present death in their stories as a point in which the character must examine themselves and make a critical decision effecting not only their own but lives of other characters in the tale.

As is immediately presented in The Epic of Gilgamesh, death is inevitable as we are all mortal. One aspect we can control however is how we leave behind our friends, family and legacy.
At the beginning of his epic, Gilgamesh sees death as an admirable endeavor, a path to fame and everlasting legacy. He throws caution to the wind while also endangering his new friend Enkidu when they venture off to defeat Humbaba, the defender of the Cedar Forest. While they were fortunate enough to return home, Gilgamesh would have gladly accepted a grand funeral such as this of Saint Rose instead.
Their earlier decisions is coming back to haunt to the two great friends. Enkidu has several mysterious dreams of the underworld and his impending doom. The dreams weren't as particularly flattering as this painting makes them seem. When he relays his visions to Gilgamesh,they perceive death as an incredibly terrible experience, overtaking the desire Gilgamesh has for fame and legacy. These dreams instill great fear in Enkidu and Gilgamesh.
Enkidu's predictions finally come to fruition as he falls terribly ill and perishes in the arms of Gilgamesh. This instance combined with the dreams leading up to it impacts Gilgamesh in ways unimaginable. His perception of death has turned one-hundred and eighty degrees while he mourns, deeply overcome with sorrow just as the subjects of this painting by Francisco Goitia.
After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh is overwhelmed with the fact that one day, he too will die. He takes some personal time to examine himself and his eventual demise just as this piece depicts one examining its own death. Gilgamesh changes once again his perspective of death, and at this moment embarks on a journey to the end of the world to find immortality.
In the beginning of Persepolis, Iran is in the midst of a revolution. Marjane Satrapi is a child and her parents are often at various demonstrations against the government. Given the political standing of her parents, she grows up hearing much about family known prisoners and their subsequent deaths. This piece's innocent facade mimics her mental depiction of death as an ignorant child whom knows no better.
The first instance of death that changes her life is that of Marjane's Uncle Anoosh. She loved him greatly and his death encourages her to participate much more actively in the revolution as he was one of the plentiful political prisoners to be executed by the Iranian government. This piece depicts a prisoner being executed by his governing body much in the way Anoosh died.
By this time, Marji had grown a little in age but immensely in knowledge. Now an active demonstrator, she would rally with her parents and others against the oppressive government. Her last demonstration came when things got ugly. The peaceful rally had turned into a full fledged beating and it marked the first time Marjane had witness this kind of violence. The volatility became real to her and her family as they acted incredibly different after this encounter.
Growing up in such horrific conditions certainly has an incredible effect on a child. Having witnessed so many counts of death brought upon by the revolution, it had taken a toll on her. When a missile exploded near her home only to destroy the neighbors' house, she witness something unfathomable for anyone let alone a child. Upon examining the ruins, Marjane saw a bracelet belonging to her neighbor, still attached to an arm (presumably) and confirmed the death of her childhood friend. This instance fully deafened her feelings towards death moving forward as she was much less sensitive to the outside world.
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