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ENG150Y1 - Epic of Gilgamesh - Lecture Notes.docx

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William Robins

ENG150Y1 – LECTURE NOTES Epic of Gilgamesh [Tablets 1 – 5]:  we are more accustomed to abstract ideas (i.e: hours, minutes, etc…)  Babylonians developed seconds, minutes and hours; ways that we live our life, our timetable is structured by ancient peoples  French attempted to adapt the metric system into time, but it failed and never caught on  Babylonian time adheres to the phases of the moon  Stonehenge time was attempted, but that too failed; 1 year = 40 weeks of 9 days  Babylonian concepts still implemented into our understanding of space; the sexagesimal number system  When we look at the cultures of mesopantina, and thinking of the relationship between us and the civilization, we see that in some ways the culture has persisted and not completely destroyed  Babylonians developed the first maps of the world and of canals using abstract modeling  “all subsequent variteties of scientific astronomy, in the Hellenistic world, in india, in ilsam and in the”…  “the hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey, and returns home and significantly transformed by his journey” = “Epic Poetry” def. in Wikipedia  the first epic revolution  These stories used for initiation rights in some early cultures  Quiet possible that Gilgamesh is foundational to the epic revolution; for 2200 years it was a big story, a story most likely to be encountered  The introduction of writing came from mesopantina, through record keeping, literary revolution, society becomes complex and so does its literary advancement  Characteristics of oral performance: o Face to face interaction\the sound of the voce o Role of memory o Words r not signes o Rhythm o Repetition o Formulas/motif/phrases/type scenes  Transformative technology  Page 1; I10  tells us that Gilgamesh is the author of the story; parallelism; connection between the creation of the tablet + temple of ziggurat  Lots of imperative words  I15  I25  similarity between the temple and the story, EOG is viewed as story and temple  Cuneiform = wedge-shape  Gilgamesh tablets are large and broken  What‟s crucial is what is repeated despite the fragmentary scenes  Fragments adds mystery  Abrupt reading experience but missing parts don‟t take away from the understanding  Incredibly popular THEME OF KINGSHIP:  Hierarchical system/society  Founded by the gods  King is crucial to social order  Gilgamesh is a king, two thirds divine and one third human  Law code of king Hammurabi: guarantees justice, protection of women and children; Gilgamesh is not following this, making many mistakes  I40-45  does this after his journey; therefore a prologue ; it‟s a story of how he becomes a great king  I60 – 80  STARTS tyranny; doesnot respect kingship structures; ruins basic family structures THEME Nature vs culture:  C.levi strauss:  “man in order to intro some order into his life, classifies the empirical world in a way that reflects underlying structures in his mind”  “the raw and the cooked” analogy; surfaces into mythology  “a binary relations is an opposition of two terms where the difference between the terms is thought to tell us something about each of them”  ENIDKU  what marks his transition?  Shepard represent this inbetween transition from wild life to city (when E and S journey to reach the city)  Page 13  doesnot eat food becasev its unfamiliar; they are the quintessential food and drink of civilization; it‟s the mark of his movement from nature to culture  Example of question: why does Gilgamesh want to go and slay humbaba? th Lecture #4 (September 19 2012)  The slaying of humbaba: for eternal fame, page 20, Y185 / permission from shamash, pg 24 / ppl r against it, but he is stubborn / follows his new found friendship w/ Enidku, turns away from authoritative stigma of himself, page 18 Y97, Shamash abhors H  H is representative of the wild, provides great fear, G wants to conquer the wild; theme of nature vs culture  E is hesitant to kill H cuz perhaps he is not ready to fully transform as a member of civilization, afraid of the consquences from the gods, knows the dangers of slaying H/ has experience of the wild, not as naïve as G  Pg 21 II260-265  there is something bout H that is unknown  G‟s mom “Wild Cow” thinks G wants to slay H because of restless spirit, pg 24 III45-55  Modernity of restlessness; fernado pessoa; “my soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome childe; its restlessness keeps growing and is foever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while”; wild cow thinks G the real reason is arcayic, religious / balance between restlessness and divineness  Structure: literary descripitions – „content and form” / linguistic and structuralist descriptions – “semantic and syntagmatic”  Use these terms to determine the merit of literature and the diff meaings  Key to thinking that terms might overlap by thinking of binary pairs; bp are how we view differently the world  T van nortwick – “the eog is driven by 2 interconnected polarities, nature/culture and mortal/immortal and the pivot for the entire structure is the relationship between G and E”  Composite symmertry: G in Uruk o E – E‟s creations and transformation o EG – G and E become friends o EG – G and E slay H o EG – G and E slay the bull of heaven o EG – G sees E die o G – G mourns and transforms  Juxtaposition, each episode motivates the next one:  Pg 8 I195-200  because his € liason w/ S, gazelles run off; initall stage of E‟s transformation, the basis of society, bonds of social relationships and kingship, entry into civilization; sexuality is both in humans and animals; densely contained,learns reason  Fighting/ male bonding is how E and G becomes friends and that is replaced with female bonding (relationships)  Pg 43 V175-180, e shows no mercy when killing h, encouraging g‟s violence and selfishness, / pg44 v256- 260  h CURSES e, and then g kills h  Ishkar wants G, pg 48 – vi 10, fertility ritual, g rejects I not cuz of her, but because of the ritual, not very religious, ritual = king goes to temple of I and sleeps w/ high priestes
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