Study questions for Gilgamesh

Tablet 1.  The coming of Enkidu

What are the main points in the praise of Gilgamesh with which the poem begins? What is the problem in Uruk?  Is Enkidu the solution to the problem?  Why is a prostitute the agent of the "capture" of Enkidu?  If he can already speak, why couldn't he be offered some other enticement besides sex?

Tablet 2. The taming of Enkidu

What are the further stages in the civilizing of Enkidu?  What is the particular motive for Enkidu's leaving the shepherd's camp?  Why is this motive so strong?  Why does Enkidu start to weep?  What is Gilgamesh's reason for going to the Forest of Cedar and facing Humbaba?

Tablet 3.  Preparations for the expedition to the Forest of Cedar

How is the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu further defined in this tablet?

Tablet 4.  The journey to the Forest of Cedar

What is the pattern of the journey?  What similarity is there in the various dreams?

Tablet 5.  The combat with Humbaba.

What is the previous relation between Eng and Humbaba?  How is Gilgamesh aided in the slaying of Humbaba by Shamash and by Enkidu?  What positive and negative results of the exploit does Enkidu foresee?  What are the auras of Humbaba?

Tablet 6.  Ishtar and the Bull of Heaven.

Why is Ishtar attracted to Gilgamesh? Why does Gilgamesh resist Ishtar? What is the role of Enkidu in the slaying of the Bull?

Tablet 7.  The death of Enkidu.

Why do the gods decide that Enkidu must die?  Which god takes Enkidu's side?  What had Enkidu done, according to Enkidu, to secure the favor of Enlil after the slaying of Humbaba?  Why does Enkidu curse the trapper / hunter and the prostitute?  What is the function of the second dream?

Tablet 8.  The funeral of Enkidu.

What does the lamentation of Gilgamesh add to our knowledge of the biography of Enkidu?

Tablet 9.  The wanderings of Gilgamesh.

Who is Uta-napishti and why does Gilgamesh want to fid him?  What is the importance of the sun in this episode?

Tablet 10.  At the edge of the world.

What is the physical condition of Gilg when he reaches the tavern of Shiduri?  What is the motive for his wandering?  Why would Ur-shanabi have a crew made of stone?  What replaces the Stone Ones?  What is the gist of what Uta-napishti tells Gilgamesh?

Tablet 11.  Immortality denied.

How do divine politics affect the origin, development and conclusion of the Deluge?  What are the main events during Gilgamesh's return to Uruk?  What does the very last scene (Gilgamesh shows Ur-shanabi the walls of Uruk) suggest about Gilgamesh's present attitude toward mortality?