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William Robins

19/09/12 CLASS 4 Epic of Gilgamesh Lecture 2 Answering: A Practice Reading Question: Why does Gilgamesh want to go and slay Humbaba? - nature vs. civilization  man conquering nature - glory  metaphorical way of overcoming death through obtaining an ‘eternal name’ - Divine inclination  Shamash hates Humbaba, “afflict[s]” Gilgamesh with a “restless” spirit. Why doesn’t Enkidu want to slay Humbaba? - afraid of Humbaba - potentially unready to complete transition from nature to civilization by making nature his opponent - fear of punishment from gods Ninsun establishes  Shamash has inclined Gilgamesh to slay Humbaba  Shamash hates Humbaba (III, 46-50) The Modernity of restlessness “My soul is impatient with itself, as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while.” - Fernando Pecosa(?) To analyze why Gilgamesh goes to slay Humbaba, one must also consider the structure of the epic. Structure Literary Descriptions “Content” & “Form” Linguistic and Structuralist descriptions “Semantic” and “Syntagmatic” Interconnected Contrasts “The Epic of Gilgamesh is driven by two interconnected polarities, nature/culture and mortal/immortal, and the pivot for the entire structure is the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu.” - T. Van Nortwick Gilgamesh from nurture, Enkidu from nature - *But once together, both begin taking on characteristics of the other Composite Symmetry E Enkidu’s creation and transformation EG Gilgamehs and Enkidu Become friends EG Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay Humbaba EG Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the Bull of Heaven EG Gilgamesh sees Enkidu die G Gilgamesh’s mourning and transformation ** Parallels ^ E.g. when farmer first sees Enkidu, describes him as someone who has “travelled from afar”  parallels with Gilgamesh near the end of the story as he travels to find Uta-napishti – he is perceived in similar fashion **repetition structure **Pg. 8  Enkidu’s transformation after laying with Shamat - sexuality is what unites humanity and nature - connection b/w sexuality and knowledge - After Enkidu’s male-female bond, then forms a male-male bond with Gilgamesh in their friendship p. 43 - interesting how the one representing nature encourages merciless slaying o inversion of Enkidu’s character - Enkidu’s death is part of Humbaba’s curse p. 48 - Meeting Ishtar  same name meaning as Hebrew Esther - VI 10-13 - Gilgamesh’s rejection of Ishtar is also his rejection of his duty as king o Tradition of king  sleep with high priestess to ensure country’s fertility Parallel Structure: Phrasing a b ‘My Friend did you not call me? Why have I wakened? a’ b’ Did you not touch me? Why am I startled? a’’ b’’Did a god not pass by? Why am I frozen numb?’ a ‘Who is the finest
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