Starting at Lines 785, p. 93 of the
PDF, we encounter one of the first flood narratives in recorded history;
why do you think imagery of a flood–seen perhaps more famously in
modern America through Noah’s story in the Old Testament–were so
powerful and pervasive for people living in the ancient world? Think
that most civilizations grew up around rivers and oceans where floods
and tidal events were among their greatest dangers and fears.
details in Utnapishtim’s tale sticks out to you, especially knowing
that the Hebrew Bible would be composed/constructed from earlier texts
In Greek Mythology (which came well after
Mesopotamian stories and cultures were developed from them as well as
Egyptian and other sources), the god Poseidon was given dominion over of
the oceans, the tides, tsunamis/tidal waves, and earthquakes and the
people feared him nearly as much as they feared Zeus, Poseidon’s brother
and King of the Gods–how might we see mythic figures Poseidon (or
Neptune as the Romans would call him) as following from such stories as
this one in Gilgamesh?
The Return Home:
nearly all epic heroes, the return home is an important element in the
conclusion of the journey (or journeys) undertaken in the
story)–Gilgamesh goes back home starting at line 1024, p. 207 of the
PDF–why is this important to the story? What has he learned? What does
he accept that he didn’t at first?
Look especially at the idea of
Gilgamesh being given the gift of immortality as a plant–Urshanabi
tells him that he can remain young forever, and Gilgamesh intends to
bring it back to Uruk and cultivate it for all others–how has he
changed from the start of the poem?
That the poem has a serpent
take the plant–does this remind you of another story? How do both
stories use so many people’s seemingly primordial, instinctual fear of
and revulsion to snakes?
What have we learned through reading this poem? What does it hold for us as readers in 2018?
Femininity in Gilgamesh
about what the story suggests about the role(s) of and for women–the
harlot is sent to tempt and temper Enkidu and make him more man than
What does this mean for the image of ‘woman’ in this text?
What are your thoughts on this image as well as images of femininity in the poem?
how can we see images of women and goddesses in the poem as setting up
patterns we can see in later sacred and other texts? Examples of
femininity in more modern texts that you can trace back to Gilgamesh?
Gilgamesh and Enkidu as Characters
What do you make of the character of Gilgamesh–is he good person? Would you like to know him? Why or why not?
the start of the poem, what do we learn about him–especially as both a
man and a ruler? is he a good character? Would you want to live under
What drives Gilgamesh at different points in his story?
How does Enkidu figure as a character in Gilgamesh’s story?
we see them as the father-figures (if you will) of so many “buddies” in
other texts all the way to today’s characters such as Batman and Robin,
Han Solo and Chewbacca, the ‘Bridesmaids,’ the ‘Hangover’ gang, and
other groups in contemporary media?
What do you make of the Gods as depicted in this work?
do they differ from the Gods in Greek or Roman myths you might know
(Zeus/Jupiter, Athena/Minerva, e.g.) or the God of Abraham (sometimes
just referred to as ‘God’ or Yahweh/YWWH)?
What makes them seem
more human, shall we say, than the God of Abraham, and what do you think
that the Mesopotamians thought about their Gods?
Early in the
poem, starting at line 24, we can see a little of the relationship of
the people and the gods, especially with regard to Gilgamesh
himself–how would you describe the relationship the people have towards
their gods? Does it seem different from how contemporary Jews,
Christians, Muslims, et. al. see themselves and their God? What do you
make of this?
Why Does Gilgamesh Persist?
is based, all historical evidence suggests, on a living king from the
27th Century B.C.E. (‘Before Christian or Before Common Era’ depending
on who you ask–I prefer ‘Common Era’ myself) or ~5000 years ago.
The story was written in cuneiform on tablets that were created ~2700 years ago in the 7th Century BCE.
though we have it as a prose narrative, is the first epic poem in
recorded literature, and the epic, while under great changes in the last
27 centuries remains one of the most popular story forms in all Western
culture–the Harry Potter series is one of the most recent examples and borrows many elements directly from Gilgamesh–e.g.
a chosen hero with superior abilities, great friends who aid him in
times of trouble, meetings with monsters, quests for immortality, etc.
So, why does Gilgamesh still reward readers?
What do you like in the work?
What doesn’t work for you?
This PDF is free and Open-Source:
ANSWER ALL THE QUESTION ; QUESTION SHOULD BE BOLDED FOR CLARITY