Introduction to Western
Literature and Arts
Lecture Notes-1: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Sumerian Myth
I. Briefly explain the following terms:
II. Answer the following questions:
1. Gilgamesh was 2/3 god, and 1/3 man. What conflict might derive from such combination?
2. What are the differences among gods, human, and animal in The Epic of Gilgamesh? What makes a person become a "hero"?
3. What are the significance of Gilgamesh's tyranny and his fighting against gods and goddess?
4. Can you recognize a pattern of growth in the story of Gilgamesh's quest? Describe this pattern briefly.
5. What purpose does the "flood" serve in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
6. What is Utnapishtim's attitude toward Gilgamesh's quest for immortality? What evidence is there that Utnapishtim is not sympathetic to Gilgamesh? What might cause Utnapishtim to have mixed feeling about Gilgamesh?
7. When the snake steals the plant of youth, why doesn't Gilgamesh return for more? Why it is a snake that steals and not other animal?( What does the snake symbolize?)
8. What insight into life did you gain form reading this epic?
9. What kind of quests do people go on today?