Questions and Answers for The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, what does Gilgamesh gain from his epic quest? Does it change him?

The Epic of Gilgamesh ends as Gilgamesh is traveling home from his visit with Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh has lost the magic plant that Utnapishtim gave him that conferred eternal youth, and Utnapishtim...

Latest answer posted June 13, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What made Gilgamesh, from The Epic of Gilgamesh, such an epic hero?

The difficulty in answering this question is that it can almost be asked in the reverse. Gilgamesh is, arguably, the original epic hero in world literature. He was the king of Uruk, an ancient...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2019 10:57 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What does The Epic of Gilgamesh reveal to us about Mesopotamian culture and religion?

One thing that The Epic of Gilgamesh tells us about ancient Mesopotamian society is the god-like status it accorded to kings. Gilgamesh isn't just the ruler of Uruk; he is two-thirds god and...

Latest answer posted November 8, 2019 10:35 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What are the similarities and differences between Enkidu and Gilgamesh in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

With regard to similarities, Enkidu and Gilgamesh are both neither entirely human nor entirely God. Both are immensely strong, in both body and mind. When the two inevitably clash, when Enkidu bars...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2020 7:01 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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

The gods in The Epic of Gilgamesh are very similar to the temporal kings and heroes who serve them: powerful but not omnipotent or infallible and not always particularly wise. Gilgamesh himself is...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2019 4:03 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What makes Gilgamesh a hero?

When speaking of the ancient tradition, heroes were understood as larger-than-life personalities who achieved superhuman feats. They were always royalty (or, at the very least, nobility), often...

Latest answer posted September 2, 2020 7:39 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

How does Utnapishtim attain immortality?

Following Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh mourns his friend and decides to journey to the ends of the earth to find Utnapishtim, who was blessed with eternal life from the gods after surviving the...

Latest answer posted September 1, 2018 4:25 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What was the author's purpose in writing The Epic of Gilgamesh, and who was the intended audience? 

The first point that must be covered in answering this question is that the author of The Epic of Gilgamesh is unknown. It is likely that the story began as an oral tradition, being told to...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2020 10:56 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What does The Epic of Gilgamesh say about the relationship between humanity and the divine?

As is the case with most pantheons in the ancient world, The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of a world more or less run by the whims of the gods. The gods repeatedly intervene in Gilgamesh’s...

Latest answer posted November 8, 2019 2:17 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Why is it important for Gilgamesh and Enkidu to kill Humbaba in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

I think there are two possible ways of interpreting this question. On one level, you can ask why killing Humbaba is important to Gilgamesh and Enkidu. At the same time, however, you can also ask...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2020 8:10 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What is the significance of The Epic of Gilgamesh?

The Epic of Gilgamesh gives us a privileged insight into one of the earliest civilizations known to man. Thanks to this remarkable work of literature, successive generations of historians,...

Latest answer posted October 25, 2020 11:40 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Why did Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight each other?

At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as a ruthless tyrant. He sleeps with every virgin bride and overworks his subjects. The citizens of Uruk petition the gods for relief, and Aruru...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2018 3:55 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What is the main theme of The Epic of Gilgamesh, and what is the historical background of Gilgamesh? Is it a...

The historical figure Gilgamesh, if he existed as many scholars believe, was a Sumerian king who is thought to have ruled over the city of Uruk circa 2800-2500 B.C. (in modern-day Iraq). The Epic...

Latest answer posted February 18, 2017 9:02 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Why is The Epic of Gilgamesh important to world literature?

The primary importance for The Epic of Gilgamesh as a piece of world literature is its age. The earliest Sumerian poems dealing with Gilgamesh date back to around 2100 BCE. It represents a turning...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2019 11:11 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What is the role of gods in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

The Epic of Gilgamesh, in its treatment of the gods, tends to parallel the tensions readers see in the later Homeric epics. The gods are deeply human in their personalities, complete with various...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2020 8:05 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

How did Gilgamesh show his arrogance in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

Gilgamesh is certainly prideful and arrogant, particularly at the beginning of the epic. His arrogance is enough for his people to ask the gods to intervene. He sleeps with brides on their wedding...

Latest answer posted October 13, 2019 10:47 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

How is Gilgamesh a tyrant in the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh?

Even more than most ancient heroes, Gilgamesh's behavior is not particularly heroic by modern standards. At the beginning of the poem, on tablet one, his tyranny against the women of Uruk takes the...

Latest answer posted October 15, 2020 10:51 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, what characteristics do the ancient Sumerians value, as evidenced in their hero, Gilgamesh?

As other contributors have already expressed, The Epic of Gilgamesh celebrates friendship (via the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu), as well as personal bravery and strength (via...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2019 10:10 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

How long did the flood last in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

There is not a direct answer to this question in the text. The storm that triggers the Flood lasts six days and seven nights. On that day, the ship runs aground Mount Nimush, & is stranded for...

Latest answer posted September 14, 2009 1:46 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Why does Enkidu's death affect Gilgamesh so strongly in the Epic of Gilgamesh?

At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh rules as a ruthless tyrant who is both revered and feared by his subjects. As a semi-divine king, Gilgamesh does not fear death and never contemplates his...

Latest answer posted November 18, 2019 3:51 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Why does Gilgamesh want to find Utnapishtim?

Following the tragic death of his best friend, Enkidu, Gilgamesh becomes aware of his own mortality and fears dying. Gilgamesh knows that the gods have granted Utnapishtim immortality and travels...

Latest answer posted September 5, 2018 12:54 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, what is the symbolic significance of Humbaba?

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Humbaba could be said to symbolize the forces of nature that must be subdued and controlled by man if he is to achieve freedom from his surroundings. The poem presents...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2018 10:04 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

How would you characterize the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu­? Is it ultimately beneficial or destructive...

At the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is a tyrant and Enkidu is practically an animal. In the first two tablets of the poem, we see Enkidu become civilized, essentially being...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2019 4:43 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

According to Utnapishtim, why did the gods decide to destroy humanity? 

The answer to this question partially depends on what translation a student is reading. One of the problems with understanding Gilgamesh is that the tablets on which it was originally inscribed...

Latest answer posted June 29, 2016 1:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What role do gender and gender roles play in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

To understand the role of gender in the Epic of Gilgamesh is to understand how a few of the male and female characters behave and function in the story. For this analysis, we will look at the roles...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2018 9:54 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh was two-thirds god and one-third man. What conflict may derive from such a combination?

Gilgamesh's demigod status makes him more powerful than other people, but it also alienates him from them. At the beginning of the poem, he is a tyrant. He uses his power to bully, rape, and kill....

Latest answer posted October 6, 2018 11:46 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What are the differences between the gods of Gilgamesh and the ones in Homer's Iliad?

Similarities abound between the gods of The Iliad and the gods of The Epic of Gilgamesh. They are both polytheistic pantheons who, from time to time, mingle in human affairs. Gilgamesh himself is...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2019 1:45 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What are the moral lessons that we will gain in this epic?

The big moral lesson that Gilgamesh learns in The Epic of Gilgameshis to be a kinder, better, wiser king. Instead of running off to fight monsters and seek immortality, the Epic is saying that the...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2019 3:11 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

How were Gilgamesh and Enkidu different from one another?

Despite his wild origins and thick jungle of body hair, Enkidu is more recognizably human than Gilgamesh. Mind you, that was only after making love to Shamhat for a whole week. Though still...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2018 8:15 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

How is wisdom depicted in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

The Epic of Gilgamesh primarily presents wisdom as acceptance of change, in particular death. Gilgamesh is distraught by his friend Enkidu's sudden death, which leads to a greater terror of his own...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2018 5:25 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

1. What two worlds do Enkidu and Gilgamesh represent? 2. Do the authors think city life is better than life in the...

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....

Latest answer posted November 15, 2019 11:55 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Are the issues that arise in The Epic of Gilgamesh still relevant to the modern world?

The Epic of Gilgamesh deals with a central theme that has yet to become irrelevant: man's search for meaning in the face of mortality. Gilgamesh witnesses the death of his best friend Enkidu and...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2018 6:50 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, how does Enkidu experience the process of adapting to the way of life in Uruk?

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created as a wild man who has no contact with any other human beings. He eats grass with the gazelle and enjoys the company of wild beasts. But he is not fated...

Latest answer posted October 28, 2020 12:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

How is a king suppose to behave?

Toward the beginning of the epic, there are several clues as to how Sumerians believed that a king should behave. Initially, Gilgamesh is described as being a heroic demigod, who exudes strength,...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2018 11:55 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

What values are expressed in Gilgamesh and Hamlet. Also, how did the values change over time?

Both Gilgamesh and Hamlet explore themes of power and how power corrupts when someone craves it. Gilgamesh and Claudius are two characters corrupted by power, though Gilgamesh is redeemed while...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2019 12:19 am UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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

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...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2013 6:55 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

From The Epic of Gilgamesh, it is clear that Gilgamesh and Enkidu complement each other and have strong mutual...

It is not really implied in this poem that Gilgamesh and Enkidu are a gay couple. Certainly they are extremely close, they come to share a very deep bond, and Gilgamesh is inconsolable at Enkidu’s...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The relationship between Enkidu and Gilgamesh remains a major focus of The Epic of Gilgamesh. What kind of...

The relationship between Enkidu and Gilgamesh is the most powerful relationship in either of their lives (in fact, keep in mind, that Enkidu was actually created for Gilgamesh to provide him with a...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2020 9:12 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What does this passage from the Epic of Gilgamesh tell us about human relationships and human nature during this...

This passage from the Epic of Gilgamesh explores the universal human fear of death. In the passage, Gilgamesh tells his story to an alewife—essentially an ancient version of a bartender—who...

Latest answer posted September 2, 2019 5:35 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, how and why was Enkidu killed?

Enkidu was the savage man, made of clay to be Gilgamesh's equal force and help to temper Gilgamesh's extraordinary power. Enkidu travels with Gilgamesh and they enjoy many adventures together;...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What transformed Gilgamesh from a bad king to a good king?

The critical turning point for Gilgamesh is his confrontation and friendship with Enkidu. Before Enkidu is created, Gilgamesh is depicted as a tyrant, using his strength to terrorize and abuse the...

Latest answer posted September 14, 2020 4:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What is the main purpose of the prologue to The Epic of Gilgamesh?

The purpose of any prologue is to offer readers insight into the setting and deatils important to the backstory (also presented in the prologue). In some circumstances, the prologue offers readers...

Latest answer posted August 31, 2013 9:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What important change(s) does Gilgamesh undergo during the course of the story?

As the story progresses, Gilgamesh becomes less intent upon worldly pleasures. He begins to treasure a real friendship with Enkidu and seeks to perform heroic deeds. At the beginning of the story,...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2017 1:54 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

From the Epic of Gilgamesh, what are the views of life and death in Sumeria?

The ideas of life and death presented in the text are similar to beliefs that many people hold today (in general). For example, there is a depiction of an afterlife in the text, but Gilgamesh...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What happened in Cedar Forest in Gilgamesh?

In Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the demigod Humbaba, who is the guardian of the forest. The two begin by first cutting down a few of the cedar trees. In fact, Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut...

Latest answer posted September 17, 2018 8:49 pm UTC

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Discuss the character of Humbaba in the Epic of Gilgamesh, why Enkidu wanted to kill him and why Gilgamesh was...

Humbaba (Akkadian spelling, Huwawa, Sumerian) is a monster appointed by the weather god Enlil to guard the Forest of Cedars. In Tablet I he is described by Enkidu as:  ''When he roars it is like...

Latest answer posted June 6, 2012 4:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, explain the role(s) of kingship in the Sumerian society.

At the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is portrayed as a harsh and predatory king, the opposite of what a king ought to be. Men and gods make exactly the same complaint: No son is...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2019 12:38 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

What values was The Epic of Gilgamesh (the flood story) meant to impress upon the audience?

Two of the significant themes presented throughout the epic concern fate versus human will and the search for immortality. The powerful demi-god Gilgamesh is given extraordinary strength and...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2017 2:35 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

How would you compare and contrast Enkidu's fall from a state of nature to that experienced by Adam and Eve? To what...

There are certainly parallels between the story from Genesis and the story from The Epic of Gilgamesh. Both stories are ultimately about the acquisition of knowledge (and the loss of innocence that...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2019 7:29 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Epic of Gilgamesh

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, what does Endiku teach Gilgamesh?

The most important lesson that Enkidu teaches Gilgamesh is the value of humility. At the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk is described as a tyrannical ruler, with some versions...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2019 3:39 pm UTC

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