How would you describe the role of the gods in Gilgamesh?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The gods in Gilgamesh are in many ways very "human." They quarrel with each other, hatch schemes to harm one another, and hold petty grudges. On the other hand, they are also awesome in their power, and one of the unfortunate byproducts of their bickering is that humanity is often caught up in it. It is also the case that some of the deities in Gilgamesh respond directly to the prayers of people. Early in the story, Anu, patron deity of the city of Uruk, responds to his people's prayers by asking Aruru to send a powerful man to destroy Gilgamesh, who is a very tyrannical ruler. Thus Enkidu is created. Additionally, the gods decide to destroy humanity through a great flood because mankind has become irritating to them. So the gods play an active, if not always benevolent, role in the lives of men. It is also noteworthy that the defining characteristic of the gods, namely immortality, becomes the object of Gilgamesh's futile strivings late in the story.