What is an example of the gods in The Epic of Gilgamesh being involved in the problems of the humankind?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One example of the involvement of the gods in human life is that the gods are highly involved in Gilgamesh’s life, creating him as a leader and then helping to control him.

The God’s created Gilgamesh, and “gave him a perfect body” (p. 3).  The fact that the gods decided to create a perfect human shows their involvement in human affairs.  Although the text does not really say, it begins by describing Gilgamesh as a great king, so we can infer that the gods wanted to give the humans a good king.

In fact, Gilgamesh is not even entirely human.  He is one third human, and two-thirds god.

Shamash the glorious sun endowed him with beauty, Adad the god of the storm endowed him with courage, the great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others, terrifying like a great wild bull. (p. 3)

Gilgamesh is not perfect though.  When the gods made him so wonderful, they created a monster in a way.  Gilgamesh was so powerful that no humans could stand up to him, and he became a tyrannical leader.

Then the people asked the gods for help and explained that Gilgamesh was going after their sons in battle and their daughters in lust.  The people had a plan: create a companion.

You made him, O Aruru; now create his equal; let it be as like him as his own reflection, his second self; stormy heart for stormy heart. Let them contend together and leave Uruk in quiet. (p. 4)

Again, the gods intervened in human affairs.  They did create Enkidu, who was just as strong and intelligent.  Gilgamesh was not pleased at first, and challenged Enkidu to a fight.  Gilgamesh won, but Enkidu acknowledged his greatness, so Gilgamesh embraced him and they became friends and fellow adventurers.

It is interesting that in this story the gods listen to the people and help them.  They seem to want the people to be stable.  If they created a king that was 2/3 god, they have a duty to the humans to ensure that he is also a good king.  

 

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