The story of Utnapishtim. What do the various actions of the gods and goddesses allow us to infer about how the Mesopotamians viewed their deities?maily i need to know what the actiona of the gods...

The story of Utnapishtim. What do the various actions of the gods and goddesses allow us to infer about how the Mesopotamians viewed their deities?

maily i need to know what the actiona of the gods and godesses were to allow us to infer about how the mesopotamians viewed their deities?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods interact with humans and intervene in human affairs. This is common in epic literature & mythology. For example, Zeus of Greek mythology often sleeps with human women, and his wife Hera punishes them in her jealousy. From the beginning of the story, the spiritual world manipulates the physical. Persons, places, and all things are closely associated with deities: Anu is god of Uruk; Shamash oversees Gilgamesh (who is himself described as two-thirds god); Ishtar inhabits the temple precincts of Eanna, the great temple of Uruk; Ereshkigal is queen of the underworld; and Ea favors Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim was rescued from the flood, and granted eternal life for his devotion to the gods. At the same time the gods control the action throughout the narrative, they seem distant from it, interfering only when pressed or perturbed.

This all shows that the Meopotamians viewed their deities as essentially supernatural humans. Rather than being omnipotent, benevolent figures, they are very human in their petty jealousy, bickering, and irritation with humans like Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the people of Shurrupak. It's almost like watching modern soap operas: larger than life characters act out their drama for the entertainment of the masses. That is what these stories of the gods were when you break it down:entertainment.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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