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Epic of Gilgamesh Summary: A Plot Overview


This story is set during Mesopotamian times. It focuses on King Gilgamesh, a cruel half god half human king. His father is Lugulabanda a minor god and his mother Lady Ninsun known for her wisdom.

Gilgamesh rules Uruk and is cruel to his subjects. The Gods Ishtar and Anu see this and hence create Enkidu, who was Gilgamesh’s equal and send him to Uruk to challenge the king. Enkidu behaves like a beast, and so he is tamed by Shamhat by lying with him for six nights and seven days. Enkidu becomes human and learns to be civil. Enkidu is kind and helps people. Shamhat takes Enkidu to Gilgamesh, as the latter was to rape a peasant girl. Enkidu becomes angry and attacks Gilgamesh. They brawl, but Gilgamesh wins. Gilgamesh and Enkidu develop a great friendship later. They kill together. Their first victim is Humbaba in the forest. Then they kill the bull of heaven who had been sent by Ishtar after Gilgamesh rejects her.

The sins that Enkidu and Gilgamesh commit together become too many to the extent the gods get angry and make the decision to have Enkidu killed as punishment to Gilgamesh. Enkidu gets ill and dies in the arms of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh decides to seek immortality after this event. On the journey, he encounters a great scorpion, and they engage in battle. The scorpion tells Gilgamesh that there is no immortality. Gilgamesh keeps on and goes on to meet Utnapishtim, who was rumored to have immortality from the Gods.

Utnapishtim rejects the request from Gilgamesh for immortality. Gilgamesh is sent back to Uruk but with a plant that could make him young again when eaten. Unfortunately, Gilgamesh falls asleep before he gets to Uruk and a snake ingests the plant, and it becomes young again.

Gilgamesh gets back to Uruk and is full of fear of dying. On his journey home, he discovers he has to turn into a good king so that his legacy would forever live on. For the rest of his rule, he becomes a good person and king until death. His name is remembered forever.

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