Epic of Gilgamesh notes

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18 April 2016

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The ways (literal & symbolic) in which the title relates to the story is/are

An Epic is a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, so the Epic of Gilgamesh title tells the reader that this story was most likely going to be about a hero named Gilgamesh and it would be about his adventure.

The objectives for this selection are
By reading Epic of Gilgamesh, we learned and develop an understanding of the central themes which are relevant to humans today. We will also get to study about how life was during the Mesopotamian time. I also do think that reading this will help with our AP World History students, since currently we are studying the life in Egypt and Mesopotamian culture. We learned about how the Epic of Gilgamesh was a great epic that gave us knowledge about their culture and faith.

Point of View (POV):
The POV of the narration is 3rd person omniscient.
Evidence from the selection that proves this POV is Third person. Although the first tablet was told in Gilgamesh’s point of view, this epic was spoken by an unknown narrator for most of the story. This narrator spoke of Gilgamesh as a hero and never criticized him. In the story there were many “He said, she said, he did, she did” so then this would be considered 3rd person. Since the narrator and the reader/listener are not in the story but are looking in on the action, so this would be a 3rd person omniscient.

I know the narrator is RELIABLE because the narrator never really criticized Gilgamesh, and always described him in the most heroic terms. So the narrator must have admired Gilgamesh enough to write his entire tale down and recorded the first work of what’s said to be the literary fiction ever written. Setting:

The selection takes place in Mesopotamia and ancient Babylonian areas, (Where: specific location)
Uruk and Lebanon in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), in 7th Century BC between 2700 B.C. and around 600 B.C. (Where: general location/country/region) (When: time period/year)

The action of the selection takes to (Duration/Time Span) complete, from beginning to end. (note “book-ends” if needed)

The protagonist, Gilgamesh,
(Name of protagonist)
Three important facts we know about the protagonist are:
Before Gilgamesh meets Enkidu, he has been feeling that he was meant for greater things than being king of one little city. Once he meets Enkidu, who has been created to be his match, he realizes that together they can do great deeds, so they set off to fight the giant of the cedar forest. Then when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh realizes that his real opponent is death, and he sets out alone to find a way to attain eternal life.

The antagonist, Death, the Gods, Fate,
(Name of antagonist)
is STATIC, and FLAT.
Three important facts we know about the antagonist are:
They are daily obstacles; everyone faces them at one point in their lives. They don’t really change much throughout the story, but they follow Gilgamesh throughout his daily routines as king. Also sometimes they are in favor of Gilgamesh, but in other times they oppose of him and punish him in different ways.

Below I have listed the major and supporting characters, facts we know about each one, and the function each serves in the story:

Enkidu- Companion and friend of Gilgamesh. Hairy-bodied and brawny, helps Gilgamesh in his quest to kill Humbaba.

I have also listed the minor characters and the function each plays:

Shamhat – The temple prostitute who tames Enkidu by seducing him away from his natural state. Utnapishtim – A king and priest of Shurrupak Utnapishtim’s Wife – Softens her husband toward Gilgamesh, persuading him to tell him the secret of the magic plant called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man. Urshanabi – The guardian of the mysterious “stone things.” Accepts Gilgamesh as a passenger, so he returns with him to Uruk. The Hunter – Also called the Stalker. The hunter discovers Enkidu at a watering place in the wilderness and plans to tame him.

Conflict: (from perspective of BOTH protagonist AND antagonist) The main conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist is The will for power and fame made Gilgamesh constantly meet face to face with death and the Gods. Since Gilgamesh wanted to be the best, he challenged anyone who could go against him and even went to search for eternal life.

The Internal conflicts (the struggles within characters) are when Enkidu was unsure to enter Humbaba’s territory he had to deal with his conscience and Gilgamesh who was constantly telling him it was no big deal. Also when Enkidu died, Gilgamesh realized that the one thing in his way of great power was death, so he struggled with the gods and death in search of eternal life.

The external conflicts the characters face (may be a reflection of the internal conflict) are:
When Gilgamesh saw Humbaba he relied on the god Shamash to help him defeat Humbaba. Enkidu was terrified and was almost forced to help Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh faced his fear and stabbed Humbaba in the neck, but this angered some gods, which lead to more conflict.

Plot: summarize each element of the story structure in chronological order: -Exposition (status quo before conflict is introduced) King Gilgamesh treats his people in a mean and cruel way. The gods hear the people’s complaints and create Enkidu as Gilgamesh’s equal. Enkidu hears about the mighty Gilgamesh and gets ready to go against him in a battle to see if he was the strongest man alive. When the two meet they are instantly stuck to each other and became friends and companions.

-Rising Action (conflict introduced…complications build tension in plot) Soon the two manly men put aside their differences and become the best of friends. Gilgamesh then puts their power to the test and targets Humbaba for him and Enkidu to defeat. The conflict continues when Gilgamesh and Enkidu return to Uruk, carrying the monster’s head. Ishtar, the goddess of love and war was not happy. Ishtar, the goddess, wants Gilgamesh to take her as his wife. Gilgamesh refuses which soon leads to more conflict.

-Climax (a moment when the main conflict is resolved)
Ishtar was angry so she sent the Bull of Heaven down to earth, to have it kill Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The heroes were quick on their feet and slayed the Bull. Enkidu tears off one of the Bull’s legs and throws it in Ishtar’s face. The gods felt ashamed and even angrier on how those two were behaving and soon planned another big surprise for the macho duo. Shortly after having a dream in which Enlil, the king of the gods, sentences him to die, Enkidu develops a mysterious illness and die.

-Falling Action (a.k.a. denouement. Aftermath or result of resolved conflict) After Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh feels lost and confused, and he becomes tortured with the fear of death. He decides that the only thing to do is to meet Utanapishtim, the one human being who has been granted immortality by the gods. He sets off on a journey beyond the Eastern edge of the earth, where the sun rises, to find out the secret of immortality.

The subject/topic of the selection is that wisdom and kindness are superior to immortality, and the lesson we learn about the topic, the theme, of this selection is that wisdom and kindness are superior to immortality. -Evidence from the selection that supports my argument about the theme is Gilgamesh was a man obsessed by power and authority, so he wanted it all the fame, wealth, and power. Gilgamesh was a mean king who was cruel to his people, this brought him no good from the gods as his friend Enkidu died, and he was next on the death roll. -Symbols (objects representing other objects or ideas) in the selection are Bulls represent explosive, destructive natural power, and the ability to wrestle a bull suggests humanity’s ability to harness nature’s power

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