The Epic of Gilgamesh Lecture Notes.docx

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University of Texas at Austin
E 314L
Elizabeth Richmond- Garza

The Epic of Gilgamesh 1/16/2013 1:55:00 PM Connection of lit to environment -Inscribed bricks -Natural disasters/pressures on peoples’ continuation/rebuilding of lives Nomads >> Civilization (establish identities) Gilgamesh is about the community – historical & magical  How it is built Gilgamesh is real and so is Uruk Author: Anonymous Specific historical background: rd 3 millennium BCE Religious/supernatural affiliation The writers: How do they present the story of Gilgamesh? They don’t make him a “nice” and “admirable” man You have someone you know as a hero – do you want to make him perfect? Do flaws make G more relatable? Prologue: (13) “I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh” Acadian – no afterlife So your reputation matters – what do people think/remember after your death? “Beautiful, strong, physical/mentally remarkable” – “2/3s they made him god and one third man” Mixture of divine/human – what is advantageous and what is made difficult? Built great city of Uruk (I – 13) “G sounds the tocsin for his amusement…comely, and resolute.” He is said to be amazing but his actions/personality contradict Is that how you built up the image of a hero?  How do we come to have any respect/admiration for G? Arrogant – important definition of G Good news: He has no equal Bad news: He uses everyone else as an object He has no responsibility *Shepherd simile – how he should be treating his people Power is about the strength you have Arrogance – how do you use that strength Could you be powerful like G and yet be – kind, responsible, protective, abusive? Enkidu is there to teach G something Personality: Wild, crazy, hangs out with the beasts, vegetarian, nomad, “rough…innocent of mankind” (14), *unsocial, outside of society E seduced, put in a relationship w/harlot, breaks natural connection with the animals, “domesticated” E was lonely too – “one would understand his heart” Bottom pg 15 – “He loved him with the love of a woman” – explore it historically Can either be homosexual (erotic love) Or maybe it was comparing his love – G loved E more than he could love anybody The Soldier and his Weapon (16) – Dream about an axe (what E is like) – protector, defines who I am After they beat each other up, they go out for adventure Journey #1 – Forest Journey Enkidue – “Know who you are and know also who you are not” (17) – everlasting life is not for you to grasp, know what you can/can’t do Cedar – used for beams in construction, longest straightest kind of wood you could get Society – deforestation problem Helps explain phenomenon – relationship btw ethics & nature, do we have an accountability? Bad idea to destroy Humbaba because they could destroy the forest Humbaba characteristics Breathes fire, ground trembles – Earthquakes & Volcanoes Humbaba represents the natural forces that need to be overcome for a city to be built like they were aiming for (22) “Who is this that have violated my woods?” – overstepping of what’s proper and allowed (23) What’s your opinion of Enkidu on this page? Enkidu – “you don’t know this monster & that is why you are not afraid. I who know him, I am terrified.” Does this make him a coward? Is his being scared more admirable? What’s practical, desirable, admirable? Humbaba calls Enkidu a “hireling”/direspects, weak – then Enkidu says “Kill the bastard.” (3) Ishtar Ishtar propositions G (25) G – “Why should I?... I have many reasons not to.” Am I going to be treated like the rest of your boys? I goes to Anu (dad) & Antum (mom), wants to send down the bull of heaven Women & need for revenge Consequence if sent (drought/famine – is there enough food for the people?) Important – does G take in account the people, the idea of I being a shepherd Importance of dreams – interpret & foreshadow E – falls ill in a society where being sick isn’t admirable; dying in battle is admirable While sick, E takes responsibility for what he’s done wrong (28) – “it was I who cut down the cedar… and now see what has become of me” – the disease is a cause-effect of these events *Vampire – first, oldest reference to that As E imagines what happens to not just him but everybody when they die Description of what it’s like to be dead For E, it’s like being a vampire Based on what you think about the afterlife, how does it influence how you live? (29) Irkalla: E’s personal hell “There is the house…” The idea where you become a shell with no consciousness when you die – persisting, existing, without really living. Nothing to count on except my reputation, and I got it wrong (E_) “I must die in shame” *IN SHAME bothers him (29) Culturally – the woman weeping/mourning at the funeral G, the boy, does the mourning here – takes on the woman’s role Trying to fix the thing that E messed up by saying E was a great man (30) “Bitterly moaning like a woman mourning/ I weep for my brother” Metaphor – axe, hand’s strength, sword, shield But each one of those objects is on G’s body and secures G’s life from danger (representative) Top (31) – What does G still need to learn? Why, if he cares so much about another human, are we not done yet? What’s missing? LECTURE 2 What is the thing that makes us human? -Utnapishtim Gilgamesh’s vulnerability – sleeping What do we have in common? (international artists album) We all have children, we all sing lullabies If there’s a parent somewhere, a friend somewhere singing a lullaby then it means we have something very much in
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