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What is the importance of the following motifs: dreams, role of women, role of animals,...

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oldschool | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 10, 2008 at 2:11 PM via web

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What is the importance of the following motifs: dreams, role of women, role of animals, sleep, bathing, the underworld, and the snake?

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted June 12, 2008 at 3:02 PM (Answer #2)

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This is a huge question...I'll try to give you a few nudges.

dreams -- Gilgamesh certainly has prophetic dreams, but he is unable to translate them effectively.  First his mother and then Enkidu offer various interpretations.  In the case of Enkidu, the interpretations seem designed to get Gilgamesh to do what Enkidu wants: attack Humbaba. 

role of women -- Women take both very positive roles when they are in support positions like Gilgamesh's mother or Ziusudra's wife, but when they have power, like Inanna, they become manipulative. 

role of animals -- Animals don't have a major role.  We see the animals as symbols of purity when Enkidu is first dropped into the wilderness, but later, they are depicted as victims as Inanna falls in love with the stallion and the lion and the "spotted shepherd-bird" only to be abandoned and victimized by the goddess.

sleep -- Sleep is both healing and dangerous.  It's because Gilgamesh fell asleep that Ziusudra refused to initially help Gilgamesh.

So, in each case, there is no clear delineation between what is good or evil, what is truth or lie.  It's all so very complicated.

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oldschool | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 17, 2008 at 9:05 PM (Answer #3)

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This is a huge question...I'll try to give you a few nudges.

dreams -- Gilgamesh certainly has prophetic dreams, but he is unable to translate them effectively.  First his mother and then Enkidu offer various interpretations.  In the case of Enkidu, the interpretations seem designed to get Gilgamesh to do what Enkidu wants: attack Humbaba. 

role of women -- Women take both very positive roles when they are in support positions like Gilgamesh's mother or Ziusudra's wife, but when they have power, like Inanna, they become manipulative. 

role of animals -- Animals don't have a major role.  We see the animals as symbols of purity when Enkidu is first dropped into the wilderness, but later, they are depicted as victims as Inanna falls in love with the stallion and the lion and the "spotted shepherd-bird" only to be abandoned and victimized by the goddess.

sleep -- Sleep is both healing and dangerous.  It's because Gilgamesh fell asleep that Ziusudra refused to initially help Gilgamesh.

So, in each case, there is no clear delineation between what is good or evil, what is truth or lie.  It's all so very complicated.

thank you 10 fold

i took some of the pieces and made a 90% thank you

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted September 3, 2008 at 3:55 PM (Answer #4)

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This is a huge question...I'll try to give you a few nudges.

dreams -- Gilgamesh certainly has prophetic dreams, but he is unable to translate them effectively.  First his mother and then Enkidu offer various interpretations.  In the case of Enkidu, the interpretations seem designed to get Gilgamesh to do what Enkidu wants: attack Humbaba. 

role of women -- Women take both very positive roles when they are in support positions like Gilgamesh's mother or Ziusudra's wife, but when they have power, like Inanna, they become manipulative. 

role of animals -- Animals don't have a major role.  We see the animals as symbols of purity when Enkidu is first dropped into the wilderness, but later, they are depicted as victims as Inanna falls in love with the stallion and the lion and the "spotted shepherd-bird" only to be abandoned and victimized by the goddess.

sleep -- Sleep is both healing and dangerous.  It's because Gilgamesh fell asleep that Ziusudra refused to initially help Gilgamesh.

So, in each case, there is no clear delineation between what is good or evil, what is truth or lie.  It's all so very complicated.

thank you 10 fold

i took some of the pieces and made a 90% thank you

I'm very glad that helped you get started 

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palenchs | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 6, 2009 at 8:40 AM (Answer #5)

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Also- don't miss the obvious. For us in the western world, the snake is, once again, responsible for man's mortality.

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