The Epic of Gilgamesh - Tablets 6-7 Summary & Analysis

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Tablet 6

While celebrating his victory over Humbaba, the god Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to become her husband. Gilgamesh turns her down. Humiliated, Ishtar goes to her father, the god Anu, and asks for the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh. After some discussion, Anu agrees. Ishtar releases the bull on Uruk where it begins to do extensive damage. Enkidu grabs the bull by the horns, and Gilgamesh stabs it in the neck. When Ishtar arrives, she is angry that they have ruined her plans. Enkidu throws the bull’s leg at her. Gilgamesh marches through the village celebrating.

Tablet 7

Enkidu has a dream that the gods Shamash, Enlil, and Anu are discussing Gilgamesh and Enkidu. They think one of the two men should die for the deaths of the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba, as well as the cutting down of the largest cedar tree in the forest. The gods, despite Shamash's words in support of the two boys, decide Enkidu should die. When Enkidu tells this to Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh promises to build a gold statue in his likeness. However, Enkidu is frightened, and he begins to curse Shamhat and the trapper who first met him in the forest. Shamash comes to Enkidu and reminds him of all Shamhat did to help him, so Enkidu stops cursing her and prays for good things to happen to her instead. Enkidu tells Gilgamesh about another dream in which he is taken to the underworld where there are people who were once great rulers, but they are now servants to the gods. A short time later, Enkidu becomes ill and dies.

Gilgamesh humiliates a goddess by refusing to marry her. This causes the goddess to send the Bull of Heaven to destroy Uruk and kill Gilgamesh, but she underestimates Enkidu. Enkidu holds down the bull while Gilgamesh kills it. Full of pride, Gilgamesh brags, causing the gods to become angry. They decide one of them needs to die. Enkidu is the one who is chosen to die.

Gilgamesh adores his friend, who is the first person he has known that he can consider an equal. When Gilgamesh learns that Enkidu is dying, he becomes very upset. If not for Enkidu, Gilgamesh might not have killed Humbaba or been able to kill the Bull of Heaven. For this reason, the reader wonders what will happen to Gilgamesh once Enkidu is gone.

Who is Ishtar? Why does she want to marry Gilgamesh? Why does he refuse her?

Why does Ishtar send the Bull of Heaven to Uruk? What does she expect it to do? What happens?

Why do the gods want either Gilgamesh or Enkidu to die? Whom do they choose? For what reason?

Raged, fury, stupid, heavenly, downpour, intoned, rested, morsel, intervals, acceptance, interpreting, offered, counsel, surge, nightly, beauty, auspicious, depths, destroy, courage, perish, endure.

This section contains 470 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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