Due in 10 hoursYour first discussion question is on Gilgamesh. Be sure to participate in this discussion before the deadline, including a response to at least one classmate. You will receive up to 20 points for your participation. While the quality of discussion is most important, make sure that you submit a well thought out response to submit before the deadline. Here is our question:How is Gilgamesh described by the narrator at the start of the epic? How does this portrayal affect your perspective and anticipation of the character?
Due in 10 hours Your first discussion question is on Gilgamesh. Be sure to participate in this discussion before the deadline, including a response to at least one classmate. You will receive up to 20
EPIC OF GILGAMESH – Tablets I-III, V-VII, IX-XI CHARACTERS Human (more or less) Characters Gilgamesh, the protagonist, ruler of the city of Uruk, he is 1/3 human and 2/3 god Enkidu – a wild man who lives among and as if he is an animal, becomes tamed and Gilgamesh’s best friend Shamhat – a voluptuous woman [a “harlot” in the Kovacs trans.] who tames/humanizes Enkidu with sex Lugalbanda – Gilgamesh’s father, a king Urshanabi – the ferryman who helps Gilgamesh find Utnapishtim Utnapishtim – a great king who survives the great flood, has secret of immortality, is made immortal along with his wife Utnapishtim’s wife – takes pity on Gilgamesh Siduri – a female tavern keeper, bar-keep Gods and Goddesses Rimat-Ninsun – Gilgamesh’s mother, interprets dreams, is a goddess, her epithet is “wild cow” Anu – the sky god, father of the gods, especially in the Gilgamesh Epic, the father of Ishtar Enlil, the Great Counselor – another wind/storm god, head god on earth Adad – the storm god Ishtar – Queen of Heaven, goddess of love and war Sin – the moon, the moon god, son of Enlil Ea (also known as Enki) Igigi – a group of the gods who rebelled against Enlil Anunnaki – a higher group of the gods Beasts and Monsters Humbaba/Khumbaba – guardian of the cedar forest; a monster who is supposed to guard for the gods Bull of Heaven – a monster bull who Anu sends to kill Gilgamesh because Ishtar is angry at being spurned Scorpion people – guards at Mt. Masha PLACES Uruk – city where Gilgamesh is king Eanna – Temple of Ishtar at Uruk Tigris and Euphrates – two key rivers of Mesopotamia Nippur – another important Mesopotamian city Questions for Study and Reflection A. First, as with all our reading, listening, and observing consider the following questions. How does the Gilgamesh Epic speak to these questions? 1. What does it mean to be “human”? Is there such a thing as human nature? If so, how do we define and understand it? What are the relationships between humans, nature, the “sacred,” and culture? 2. How do people and cultures find or create an identity? (Who am I? Who are We?) What is the relationship between the individual and the group? 3. How does a person or society mature? What is maturity? What is wisdom? 4. How do societies and individuals move through transitions such as birth, coming of age, marriage, and death? Do rites of passage–either literally or metaphorically–mark such transitions? 5. How and why do artifacts and texts of the past speak to and affect the present? Who cares and why? 6. How does a medium of expression such as written narrative, illuminations, or sculpture give shape to that expression? What roles do “authors,” works, media, audience, and contexts play in creating meaning? B. Reading Guide and Specific Questions In all cases be able to support your answer with examples from the text. The How of the Story 1. Images. As you read, make a list of the most striking images (word pictures such as the worm coming out of Enkidu’s nose) and metaphors used. How do these images affect you as a reader? 2. Characterization. Stories use many methods to portray characters. One way of thinking about these methods is in terms of telling and showing. Telling involves a narrator’s description of a character, direct comments by the narrator, physical characteristics, clothing, names and labels such as the Great Counselor for Enlil, etc. Showing involves actions of the characters and their direct speeches. The story may also involve one character’s descriptions of and reactions to another character. Another helpful distinction is between round and flat characters. Round characters are fully developed and often change over the course of a narrative. Flat characters are one dimensional. Give examples of some of the methods used to portray characters in this story. 3. Point of view is also important in a narrative. From whose perspective is the story told? From whose perspective are events seen? Sometimes perspective shifts. For example, there can be shifts back and forth between the perspective of a third-person omniscient narrator and those of a character. As you read, be aware of from whose points of view the story is being told and shown. Who speaks? Who sees? Sometimes the term focalization is used to describe the shifting points of view related to vision, speech and other aspects of perspective. Who is looking at whom? Who is listening to whom? Sometimes voice, vision, and hearing are not all from the same perspective. It is helpful to think of how a movie camera captures a narrative in motion. As you read the Epic of Gilgamesh, ask yourself from whose point of view is the story being told, seen, etc. at any given point. 4. Plot is a key element of a narrative. This includes the actions–what happens. It also includes the motivations for what happens. Narratives are also shaped by foreshadowing and retrospection. What are the key events in the plot of the Gilgamesh Epic? Do you find any foreshadowing or retrospection? 5. Theme – Theme is a slippery concept. It has to do with the central ideas or concepts embodied by all the elements of a narrative combined. One way to uncover themes is to ask what a narrative is about. So, what do you think the Gilgamesh Epic is about? For more information on the elements of narratives and literature in general see Glossary of Literary Terms at http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/literature/bedlit/glossary_a.htm
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