The Epic of Gilgamesh Questions and Answers

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1. What two worlds do Enkidu and Gilgamesh represent? 2. Do the authors think city life is better than life in the country? 3. According to the epic, what are the advantages of the city? 4. What problems does city life pose? 5. What is the meaning of the story?

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Gilgamesh is the demigod king who rules over Uruk with an iron fist. Although Gilgamesh is praised for his strength, courage, and wisdom, he is a domineering ruler and overworks his subjects. Gilgamesh's character represents civilization and everything that comes with it. The Mesopotamians seem to favor civilization, which is evident by the extensive praise they give to their achievements. There are numerous references made to their impressive temples, gardens, massive walls, and lapis lazuli tablets. In contrast, Enkidu represents the natural world and is formed out of clay to challenge Gilgamesh. Enkidu is raised in the wild and lives peacefully among the animals until he sleeps with a temple prostitute. Once Enkidu is shunned by the natural world, he is defeated by Gilgamesh in a wrestling match before becoming his best friend.

According to the epic, civilization is viewed as superior to the natural world. Gilgamesh, who represents the civilized world, not only defeats Enkidu but...

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