Essay prompts for the epic of gilgamesh


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The Priestess Shamhat symbolizes wisdom and learning. She was the one sent to the wild-man, Enkidu to bring him out of wilderness and introduce him to civilization. She employs the tool of sex to accomplish this task.

She had sex with Enkidu for seven days and took him through the process of civilization such as imbibing healthy habits, eating human food and having a sense of civic responsibility. Shamhat was used in the poem to convey the seductive power of a woman over men and her ability to influence positive transformation through learned habits. The goddess Ishtar felt humiliated after the king, Gilgamesh, rejected her sex advances because she mistreated her former lovers like Dumuzi.

In her fury, she asks her father, Anu, to send the Bull of heaven called Gugalana to carry out vengeance on Gilgamesh. Ishtar represents the dangerous or destroyer nature of a woman in the face of humiliation. The goddess Ishtar offered to make Gilgamesh well respected by all, wealthy, and his kingdom prosperous if he marries her, but became sore angry and destructive when he was turned down.

The last woman in Gilgamesh was Shiduri. She tried to dissuade him from continuing the fruitless journey while educating him that the nature of man as ordained by the gods was for him to live and die. Women played very important roles in the epic of Gilgamesh to pass across vital principles that are beneficial to human existence. Professional essay writers - are here to write your essay from scratch. While she informs him of the imminent arrival of Enkidu, it could also be that Gilgamesh is lonely and looking for a companion. Enkidu dreams of the gods deciding his death and of what the underworld will be like.

His state of mind is one of absolute fear of his defiance of the gods. Although Gilgamesh faces his own mortality upon Enkidu's death, he also must now face a life without his friend. Why is this also of importance?


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What does it teach Gilgamesh about life and the spirit of endurance? Beyond teaching Gilgamesh that his own life must end, Enkidu's death also forces Gilgamesh to continue living the life he still has left.

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Full story)

He is initially so distraught over Enkidu's death that he more or less abandons his kingly duties. Utnapishtim teaches him that life must end, but Gilgamesh also must return to Uruk with the full understanding that his own life must continue if it is to have meaning. What is the significance of the darkness that Gilgamesh encounters in the passage beneath Mount Mashu on his way to seek Utnapishtim?

The text repeatedly mentions how Gilgamesh is alone at this point in the story. With nothing else visible around him, Gilgamesh is truly on his own on this quest. He is also completely lost, without obvious direction, fumbling in the dark. This metaphor reiterates Gilgamesh's struggle with the loss of Enkidu. He is suddenly finding himself unsure of how to proceed in life. Repetition is a frequent technique the author s used in the Epic of Gilgamesh, as is the theme of duality. Enkidu and Gilgamesh are near mirrors of each other, for example. They undertake two quests: one against Humbaba, the other against the Bull of Heaven.

Discuss other examples of duality and repetition in the story. Why does the epic contain these elements? Repetition reinforces themes present in the story, or attributes of a character. Sometimes repetition can also draw contrasts between different events or characters.

Besides reinforcing elements in the story, repetition also suggests that these stories may have had a strong oral tradition and were largely passed down in this manner before being committed to these tablets. Duality also draws comparisons between characters and again reinforces one of the themes of the story: companionship. Enkidu and Gilgamesh are near mirrors of each other. Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim also share some characteristics, not in appearance, but in the knowledge that they both have gained.

Enkidu and Gilgamesh embark on two quests. Gilgamesh's journey to the underworld mirrors his quest with Enkidu.

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The story begins and ends with a description of the city of Uruk and its walls and other features? What does this signify? For Gilgamesh it signals reconciliation with the finite nature of life. He is able to return to where he began and see it, almost with new eyes, and a new appreciation.

The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay Questions

He accepts his place. It also brings the story full-circle, perhaps an aesthetic choice to mirror the cyclical nature of life. Comment on Gilgamesh and Enkidu's relationship. Is their love of a sexual nature or a more platonic one? The text describes them as being very close. Why do you think that is? Although there is language in the text suggestive of a relationship beyond friendship between the two, there is no direct evidence of a sexual relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

At the same time, Gilgamesh declares a love for Enkidu greater than that for any woman.

Epic of Gilgamesh - Wikipedia

However, Gilgamesh's sexual appetite for women is established early on in the text, where it is written that he sleeps with newly married brides before their husbands do. It is more likely that as the gods created Enkidu to be a counterweight to Gilgamesh, the characters are able to find in each other an understanding that no one else can provide. Only they are able to comprehend what it is like to be the other.

How were Gilgamesh and Enkidu different for one another?


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  7. Gilgamesh article from aeons website. Why do the gods decide that Enkidu must die?