E250-45-FALL-2016 World Literature I : Essay Fountain

Print-Out Version of Reading Questions #2: Gilgamesh.  (For Reference Only) Print out this handout to help you as you work on Reading Questions #2: Gilgamesh.  Type your answers directly into Blackboard by using the link to this reading response provided for you in this module.



 Passage 1

“You are beautiful, Enkidu, you are become like a god.

Why do you gallop around the wilderness with wild beasts?

Come, let me bring you into Uruk-Haven,

To the Holy Temple, the residence of Anu and Ishtar,

The place of Gilgamesh, who is wise to perfection,

But who struts his power over the people like a wild bull.”


1. Who is speaking in this passage?

2. When does in the story does this speech take place?  (In other words, what is happening in the story at this point?)

3. What effect does the character who is speaking have on Enkidu?

4. In what ways has Enkidu become “like a god”?

5. What is the speaker in this passage like as a character?  In other words, what roles does this speaker play and what sorts of things are associated with the speaker?



Passage 2

“Go up, Urshanabi, onto the wall of Uruk and walk around.

Examine its foundation, inspects its brickwork thoroughly – –

Is not even the core of the brick structure of kiln-fired brick,

And did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plan?

One league city, one league palm gardens,

One league lowlands, the open area of the Ishtar Temple,

Three leagues and the open area of Uruk the wall encloses.”


1. Who is speaking in this passage (give the name)?

2. When in the story does this passage take place?  (In other words, what is happening in the story at this point?)

3. Who is Urshanabi?

4. This passage is almost an echo of some similar lines.  Where in the poem do these other similar lines occur?

5. What do the speaker’s words here suggest about the speaker has developed as a character?  (In other words, how do they suggest that the speaker has changed?



Passage 3:

“What would I have to give you if I married you?

Do you need oil or garments for your body?

Do you lack anything for food or drink?

I would gladly feed you food fit for a god,

I would gladly give you wine fit for a king,

. . .

You are an oven who [melts] ice,

A half-door that keeps neither breeze nor blast,

A palace that crushes down valiant warriors,

An elephant who devours its own covering,

Pitch that blackens the hands of its bearer,

A waterskin that soaks its bearer through,

Limestone that buckles out the stone wall,

A battering ram that . . .

A shoe that bites its owner’s feet!”

1. Who is speaking in this passage (give the name)?

2. To whom is the speaker speaking (give the name)?

3. When in the story does this passage take place?  (In other words, what is happening in the story at this point?)

4. What point is the speaker trying to make about the person to whom he/she is speaking with all of the comparisons?  (In other words, to what kinds of things is the intended audience for this speech being compared?)  In what ways might these be fitting comparisons? (What do we know about the character to whom the speaker is speaking?)

5. What are some of the reasons that the speaker reacts in anger toward the person he/she is addressing in this speech?



Passage 4:

“No one could see his fellow,

They could not recognize each other in the torrent.

The gods were frightened by the Flood,

and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.

The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.

Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,

the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed.”


1. Who is speaking in this passage (give the name), and to whom is he/she speaking?

2. When in the story of Gilgamesh does this description take place?  (In other words, what is happening in the story at this point?)

3. What is the speaker describing?  (It is not enough just to say the “flood.”)

4. What does the reaction of the gods tell us about the amount of power and control the gods have?

5. Why did the listener of this story seek out the speaker?



Passage 5:

But Enkidu’s eyes do not move,

he touched his heart, but it beat no longer.

He covered his friend’s face like a bride,

Swooping down over him like an eagle,

and like a lioness deprived of her cubs,

he keeps pacing to and fro.

He shears off his curls and heaps them onto the ground,

Ripping off his finery and casting it away as an abomination.


1. Who is covering Enkidu’s face up?

2. When in the story of Gilgamesh does this description take place?  (In other words, what is happening in the story at this point?)

3. What does the imagery of the bride’s face being covered up suggest about the relationship between Enkidu and the other person?

4. What do the last two lines suggest about the other person’s reaction to what is happening to Enkidu?

5. What is the person in this passage with Enkidu going to do next and why does he/she do it?


Some sites for the reading of the Epic of Gilgamesh or you can google yourself to find the reading on the Epic of Gilgamesh



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