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Enuma Elish Essay

1498 words - 6 pages

Enuma Elish

Mythology is the study of the language used to express experiences with and understandings of the “absolute reality.” There are four main functions that make up and are the foundation of mythology: Each of these functions plays a major role in categorizing the ideas and characters in their respective groups or section. To name these four functions there is the Mystical function which is also known as the sacred or universal function. The next function is the cosmological function or metaphor (character) function. Then comes the social or profane (personal function) which is one of the main functions that is involved in the idea of mythology. The last of the four functions is ...view middle of the document...

The Enuma Elish explains this creation by using numerous gods to create earth, for example: Apsu and Tiamat are the water that helps flood the landmass that is later created into earth. Lahmu and Lahumu are the silt that later is turned into the actual earth and dirt that individuals walk on. So the story uses the forces of nature and considers them as gods whereas many people just see rivers and ocean as just water and nothing else.
For the second function, the Cosmological function explains how the cosmic forces are expressed with actual characters and mythical beings. With the addition of personal characteristics given this will in fact enable the mystical and cosmological functions to work together and further become psychological. Not only do the mystical traits get deeper personality characteristics now but they are closer relating the geographical creation as well as reflect the cosmological function. In the first explanation of the mystical a male character represents the fresh river water present which is Apsu, whose deeper trait is as the first begetter. The silt is projected as Lahmu who is the male figure and Lahumu who represents the female figure; these two were created and formed from the first arrivals being Apsu and Tiamat. The third and final personality portrayed is Tiamat who is the salty/bitter salt water; Tiamat represents a female figure and is the “mother of them all.” The metaphors used in the Enuma Elish are shown by using both male and female counterparts coming together and creating the big picture of the earth being created. As stated in the meaning and purpose of myth: towards a definition, the Enuma Elish explains these opposites “mingling together” rather than battling for the creation. (Karshner, p.34).
For the third and Sociological function, this seeks to validate and maintain local moral order of the culture telling the story. This function takes charge of explaining what the social order of the society is and how it operates. As for the Enuma Elish, the political order and authority of kingship are closely examined and drawn out in a sort of roundabout way. Being the eldest in society Apsu and Tiamat realize that their time of reign has come to an end and they need to retire. The younger and more energetic gods cause more action which in turn creates more noise disturbing Tiamat and Apsu from their rest. Due to the interruption caused by the younger and new generation Apsu and Tiamat decide to take not so great advice from Mummu and kill their children off. This idea shows that Apsu was not only a bad god but also a bad father. The story then takes this idea and uses it to say that the universe would be filled with disorganization and dismay if taking after the efforts of Apsu. Ea who is the champion of the young gods steps up and destroys Apsu. After Ea destroys his father (Apsu) he gains full strength and the ability to now rule. The idea here is that when there is an old god that is dethroned, the new...

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