Gilgamesh Study Guide

Gilgamesh Study Questions
English 10
Chapter One
1. Gilgamesh left his city to learn how to avoid ________________, and he returned having
learned how to _____________. He came to know everything that makes a person
2. What three things did Gilgamesh describe on the walls of Uruk?
3. Gilgamesh was __________ god and _________ man.
Shamash, god of the ____________ gave him _______________.
Adad, god of ______________, gave him _____________.
Ea, god of ____________, gave him the capacity to __________________ and to become the
________________. But Gilgamesh was due to share the common fate of all men which is
4. Describe Gilgamesh as a young king.
5. Why is Enkidu sent to Uruk? How was he created? Describe Enkidu.
6. A priestess is sent to Enkidu to teach him how to be ____________. What does Enkidu learn
from her? What does he have to give up?
Chapter 2
1. Describe Gilgamesh's two dreams. What do they mean?
2. Describe the first encounter between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. How does it end?
Chapter 3
1. Why is Enkidu upset at the beginning of this chapter?
2. What does Gilgamesh propose as an antidote to his grief?
3. Describe Humbaba. Why does Cedar Forest need a "guardian"?
4. According to Gilgamesh, what gives life to your name even after death?
5. How does Shamash prepare to help Gilgamesh?
6. What is Gilgamesh's prayer to Shamash? How does that describe the life of every man?
7. What advice did the elders give Gilgamesh?
8. How does Ninsun feel about her son Gilgamesh?
Chapter Four
1. How many miles did the group travel?
2. Why did Gilgamesh and Enkidu persevere despite fear? Which man seems braver? Explain.
Describe Gilgamesh's two dreams and Enkidu's interpretations.
4. How does Shamash help the two heroes?
5. Why is Gilgamesh tempted to let Humbaba go?
6. Enkidu says, "Death devours anyone who does not use ______________________.
7. How is Humbaba killed? Why is there more emphasis on the journey to find Humbaba than
on the actual killing?
Chapter Five
1. What does Ishtar promise Gilgamesh?
2. Why does Gilgamesh refuse to marry her?
3. How did Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the Bull of Heaven? Why is the "right thigh"
4. Describe Enkidu's dream.
5. Enkidu asks Shamash to destroy the power of the _________________ and he curses
_____________________. Why does he retract the curse?
6. Why does Enkidu die?
7. How does Gilgamesh try to immortalize Enkidu?
Chapter Six
1. What does the name Utanapishtim mean?
2. How long was the tunnel of darkness? Describe the garden at the end of the tunnel.
3. What does Siduri tell Gilgamesh about everlasting life?
4. What does Gilgamesh learn from Utanapishtim?
Chapter Seven
1. According to The Faraway, why was a flood sent to destroy man?
2. Ea tells Utanapishtim that to preserve life he must ______________ and _______________.
3. What is the name of the ark?
4. For those familiar with the story, what similarities do you find in this story and the Biblical
account of the flood?
5. Why were Utanapishtim and his wife made immortal?
Chapter Eight
1. How does Utanapishtim show Gilgamesh that he is weak? What was Utanapishtim trying to
2. What did Gilgamesh call death? Why is this word appropriate?
3. Though the gods did not give Gilgamesh eternal life, what powers did they give him?
4. Describe the secret plant Utanapishtim gives to Gilgamesh. What happens to it? What does
this prove?
5. Why do you think this epic ends with almost the identical paragraph with which it began?
The Epic Hero: Gilgamesh
Topics for Consideration and Discussion
1. Why is Enkidu created as a wild, uncivilized human being? What does he lose when he
becomes civilized, and what does he gain? Is the change desirable? Explain.
2. What makes Gilgamesh a hero? What qualities does he possess, and what deeds does he
accomplish? To what extent are the gods necessary in his life? Do they detract form his
heroism? Why or why not?
3. Does Gilgamesh's journey in search of immortality make him appear cowardly because he
fears death, or strong because he attempts to change his fate? Defend your point of view.
4. How are Gilgamesh and Enkidu alike? How are they different?
5. The author emphasizes the thoughts of Gilgamesh and Enkidu as they travel to meet
Humbaba, but he gives only a brief description of the actual fight. What does this emphasis
reveal about the nature of courage?
6. What is the purpose of the various trials that Gilgamesh must pass in order to reach
7. What does Gilgamesh learn from Utanapishtim? What makes him finally accept his destiny?
8. How does the knowledge that Gilgamesh acquires from his journey and from Utanapishtim
change his life? How does he intend to gain immortality?
9. What character traits best describe Gilgamesh? Support your choice with examples.
10. Gilgamesh made a dangerous journey in order to acquire knowledge. Could a person today
have a similar experience? Explain. Would you make such a journey if you could? Why or
why not?
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