In the first chapter of The Epic of Gilgamesh, what does the city of Uruk look like?  city of uruk

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The city of Uruk is held as the shining example of civilization in the world. From the 2006 translation by Stephen Mitchell:

See how its ramparts gleam like copper in the sun./ Climb the stone staircase more ancient than the mind can imagine,/ approach the Eanna Temple, sacred to Ishtar,/ a temple that no king has equaled in size or beauty,/ walk on the wall of Uruk, follow its course/ around the city, inspect its mighty foundations,/ examine its brickwork, how masterfully it is built,/ observe the land it encloses: the palm trees, the gardens,/ the orchards, the glorious palaces and temples, the shops/ and marketplaces, the houses, the public squares.

Thus, in every aspect, the city stands as the ultimate mark of society. From its walls, to its crops, to the homes & the shops, it reflects beauty and strength. However, this physical appearance contrasts with the reality of life within the city: the people are suffering under the tyranny of Gilgamesh. He is brutal in many ways, sending men off to endless wars & forcing them to participate in games of endurance which leave them tired & wasted. He also forces each new bride to sleep with him on the wedding night, claiming it his right as king. So, the outward appearance of the city does not accurately reflect the truth of life within its walls.