“Prologue” and “The Battle With Humbaba”
1. What hints does the Prologue give about Gilgamesh’s quest? Gilgamesh will see mysteries, gain a knowledge of the world’s secrets, and go on a long tiring journey.
2. Why does the goddess Aruru create Enkidu? To curb his arrogance, to contend with the king and “absorb some of his energies
3. What is Gilgamesh predicting when he says that immolation and sacrifice are not yet for him? Gilgamesh is predicting he will not die in this battle.
4. What does Gilgamesh want Shamash to do? Gilgamesh wants Shamash to protect him and help him defeat Humbaba.
5. What do Gilgamesh’s calls to Shamash reveal about Gilgamesh’s limitations? Gilgamesh’ powers are limited, even though he is part god.
6. Which god helps Gilgamesh in the battle against Humbaba? Shamash, the sun god
7. What chief emotion does Humbaba feel? Humbaba feels fear.
8. How do the attitudes of Gilgamesh and Enkidu toward Humbaba differ? Gilgamesh feels sorry for him and wants to show Humbaba mercy, but Enkidu argues it would be a mistake because the monster will kill them.
9. What is the benefit of killing Humbaba? Gilgamesh can keep from being killed by Humbaba. Gilgamesh will gain glory and status.
10. What is the negative consequence of killing Humbaba? Gilgamesh angers the gods and especially the god Enlil, because he is the supporter of Enlil. Enlil could seek revenge.
“The Death of Enkidu”
11. Why does the Bull of Heaven come to threaten Uruk? …because Gilgamesh rejects the advances of the goddess Ishtar.
She is a woman scorned.
12. What is Enkidu’s initial reaction to the dreams of his own death? His first reaction is anger. He thinks it’s unfair that he should pay a price because he protected Uruk from the Bull of Heaven.
13. According to Enkidu, what actions resulted in dreams about his own death? He thinks that his dreams are the result of his cutting down the cedar forest and killing Humbaba.
14. How effective a leader is Gilgamesh? He is effective because he is wise and courageous; he protects his people. He is less effective when he is absent too long or relies too much on his physical strength.
“The Story of the Flood”
15. Why does Ea whisper to Utnapishtim in a dream? He whispers because he has made an oath to the other gods not to warn mankind of the flood.
16. What arouses the ire and frustration of Enlil? The world is too full of people making so much noise that the gods cannot sleep. They’re upset with the confusion and chaos of mankind.
17. Why does Ea advise Utnapishtim to tell the others a half-truth? Ea wants to keep the flood secret. He doesn’t want the people alarmed at Utnaphishtim’s actions. Ea does not want the gods to know that he has broken his oath.
18. How long does the storm last? The storm lasts 6 days and 6 nights.
19. Summarize the reactions of the gods to the flood. The gods are upset and afraid of the flood. They don’t feel safe any longer.
20. What is different about the gods’ reaction to the flood from their earlier attitude toward destroying mankind? At first the gods weren’t worried about killing mankind, but now they are in fear for their own lives.
21. What does the reaction of the gods to the flood tell you about their powers? Their reaction reveals that they are not all-powerful and are limited; otherwise they would not be afraid.
22. What sacrifice does Utnapishtim make to the gods? He burns wood, cedar, cane, and myrtle in a cauldron.
23. Why is Enlil enraged when he sees the boat? Enlil sees that Utnapishtim and his wife have survived the flood; he is angered that not all of mankind has been killed in the flood.
24. Summarize the message from Ea to Enlil. Even though Ea feels mankind should be punished for his sins, he wants Enlil to show some mercy.
25. Why might Enlil have granted immortality to Utnapishtim and his wife? Enlil may want to show mercy. By making Utnapishtim and his wife immortal, he makes sure his decree that no man lives is followed. Or he wants to reward Utnapishtim and his wife for their bravery in surviving the flood.
“The Return” – Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh how he might find immortality. 26. What does Utnapishtim mean by the “life for which you are searching”? “Life” refers to immortality, everlasting life.
27. What effect has Gilgamesh’s quest had on him? His quest has made him sleepy; it has worn him out. This shows Gilgamesh’s limitations as a human.
28. Why does Utnapishtim’s wife bake the loaves of bread? She bakes the loaves to show how many days Gilgamesh has sleeps. The loaves at varying stages of decay show how long Gilgamesh has slept.
29. Why does Utnapishtim want to prove how long Gilgamesh has slept? Gilgamesh may not want to admit that he is worn out. Because he is arrogant, he may not believe Utnaphishtim when he tells him how long he has slept.
30. How does the plant relate to Gilgamesh’s quest? Gilgamesh seeks immortality, which the plant will give him because it will make him young again.
31. What power does the plant possess? It makes a person young again; it possesses the secret to immortality.
32. What happens to the plant? A serpent steals it from Gilgamesh.
33. What lesson does Gilgamesh draw from this experience? Human beings cannot find the secret to everlasting life. Gilgamesh is human and has limitations.
General Questions from page 33 in text:
34. How doesThe Epic of Gilgamesh fit the archetype of a hero’s quest? An extraordinary leader goes on a long difficult journey in search of the something, the secret of immortality. Gilgamesh overcomes obstacles and returns home after having learned something.
35. Is Gilgamesh’s quest selfish or altruistic? Both. He says he will share it with the elders in Uruk, but his quest seems mostly selfish because he seems to want immortality for just himself.
36. What does the quest suggest about human limitations? Even the strongest, bravest, most accomplished human beings have limitations.
37. How might the tale Gilgamesh brings home eventually grant him immortality? The tales of his deeds will be retold for many years to come. Writing his story in stone helps Gilgamesh to be immortalized.
38. List the actions and/or characteristics from The Epic of Gilgamesh that correspond to the textbook definition and description of the epic genre.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a folk epic
Epic hero – larger-than-life character – Gilgamesh – great Sumerian king Hero’s quest – Gilgamesh goes on a long journey in search of something important The Epic of Gilgamesh is a long narrative that contains many stories This epic gives information about the culture/history of a people – people worshipped many gods, people made sacrifices to the gods, information about the city of Uruk Epic conflict – Gilgamesh has to overcome obstacles, fight in battles Divine intervention – the gods intervene – Enlil becomes enraged when Gilgamesh kills Humbaba; gods cause the Earth to be flooded The story begins “in medias res” – in the middle of the action Epithets – “somber-faced man-bird,” compound phrases used to describe something
39. List the actions and/or characteristics from The Epic of Gilgamesh that correspond to the definition of “archetype.” Character archetypes – Epic hero character – Gilgamesh is a larger-than-life-hero Serpent –evil being that steals the plant that would give Gilgamesh everlasting life Urshanabi – ferryman archetype –carries Gilgamesh across water back to Uruk Guardian/gatekeeper archetype- Humbaba is the guardian of the cedar forest Sidekick/companion archetype- Enkidu helps Gilgamesh fight Humbaba
Situation archetypes –
Hero’s quest is a plot archetype- Gilgamesh goes on a long journey in search of immortality Flood story – plot archetype – gods cause Earth to be flooded Battles – Gilgamesh kills the Bull of Heaven, Gilgamesh battles Humbaba Magical forest – cedar forest where Humbaba lives
Symbolic archetypes – water – purifies – Urshanabi takes Gilgamesh to the “washing-place” to clean him up before he returns to Uruk