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At the beginning of the story, Gilgamesh is the Priest-King of the city of Uruk. He is a tyrannical king who works his people to death and takes what he wants from them. He kills the young men at will and uses the women as he pleases. The people of Uruk cry out to the gods for help so that they can have peace.
Over time, and through his journies with Enkidu, Gilgamesh learns the real iimportance of one's life, honor, and what type of legacy he desires to leave behind. When he returns to his great city, he does so without the immortality he so desires, but upon seeing his home understands that it is in fact his legacy, and that if he rules well, it will be his greatest legacy. Gilgamesh comes to understand that the most important thing in life is to have lived and loved well.