Gilgamesh Close Reading Answers

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Gilgamesh Close Reading Questions: Tablets I and II

In most of the following questions, I will provide page numbers and line numbers to help you find the answers.

Tablet I

(1) Who is Enkidu and why do the gods create him?

Enkidu is a wild man created by the goddess Aruru, and “All his body is matted with hair, he bears long tresses, like those of a woman; the hair of his head grows thickly as barley, he knows not a people, nor even a country. He was created to battle Gilgamesh because the king was acting too cruelly to his people. Enkidu is Giglamesh’s equal.

(2) Why do you think the trapper is afraid of Enkidu when he sees him? (p. 5, lines 105-125)

The trapper is afraid of Enkidu when he sees him because he resembled Gilgamesh. When he comes home from hunting, he tells his father, “A man came by the water-hole.
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(p. 8, lines 188-202)

After he has sex with Shamhat, Enkidu lost his innocence and is not welcomed back into his herd. He gets “reason and a wide understanding.”

(5) What does Enkidu want? What is his intention? (p. 9, lines 215-223)

Enkidu wants to fight Gilgamesh. His intentions are to change the order of things.

(6) When Ninsun (Gilgamesh’s mother) interprets Gilgamesh’s dream for him, she tells him the significance of the rock that falls from the sky. What or who do you think the rock symbolizes and how will Gilgamesh relate to this rock?

I think the rock symbolizes Enkidu because, earlier in the tablet, Enkidu is said to be as strong and mighty as a rock from the sky. Gilgamesh will relate to this rock by treating it kindly and lovingly like a family member or wife. The rock is too heavy for Gilgamesh to carry (because it is his equal).

Tablet II

(7) Why does Enkidu’s face “pale with anger” on page 15, line P166?

Enkidu’s face is “pale with anger” because he is upset that Gilgamesh is going to have sex with a wife-to-be before her bridegroom (taking her
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