Directions: Choose four of the following passages, two from each section. Write a well-developed paragraph for each passage you’ve selected. Your paragraphs should:
- Explain what is happening in the passage.
- Quote at least three important phrases from the passage and explain why you think they’re important, how they help readers to understand the passage, and how the phrases connect to the text as a whole.
- When you are finished, you should have written four paragraphs, one corresponding to each passage you selected.
Section 1: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet X
- “Gilgamesh said to her, the tavern-keeper: “I am Gilgamesh, who killed the Guardian, who seized and killed the bull that came down from heaven, who felled Humbaba who dwelt in the forest of cedars, who killed lions at the mountain passes. The tavern-keeper said to him, to Gilgamesh: “If you are indeed Gilgamesh, who killed the Guardian, who felled Humbaba who dwelt in the forest of cedars, who killed lions at the mountain passes, who seized and killed the bull that came down from heaven, why are your cheeks emaciated, your face cast down, your heart wretched, your features wasted, woe in your vitals, your face like a traveler’s from afar, your features weathered by cold and sun, why are you clad in a lion skin, roaming the steppe?” (X.21-36)
- But for Enkidu, my friend, swift wild donkey, mountain onager, panther of the steppe, he who stood by me as we ascended the mountain, seized and killed the bull that came down from heaven, felled Humbaba who dwelt in the forest of cedars, killed lions at the mountain passes, my friend whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship, Enkidu, whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship, the fate of mankind has overtaken him. (X.181-188)
- No one sees death, no one sees the face of death, no one hears the voice of death, but cruel death cuts off mankind. Do we build a house forever? Do we make a home forever? Do brothers divide an inheritance forever? Do disputes prevail in the land forever? Do rivers rise in flood forever? Dragonflies drift downstream on a river, their faces staring at the sun, then, suddenly, there is nothing, the sleeper and the dead, how alike they are! (X.228-240)
Section 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet XI
- Ishtar screamed like a woman in childbirth, and sweet-voiced Belet-ili wailed aloud: “Would that day had come to naught, when I spoke up for evil in the assembly of the gods! How could I have spoken up for evil in the Assembly of the Gods, and spoken up for battle to destroy my people? It was I myself who brought my people into the world now, like a school of fish, they choke up the sea!” (XI.119-126)
- “Gilgamesh, you have come here, spent with exertion, what shall I give you for your homeward journey? I will reveal to you, O Gilgamesh, a secret matter, and a mystery of the gods I will tell you. There is a certain plant, its stem is like a thornbush, its thorns, like the wild rose, will prick [your hand]. If you can secure this plant, […]” (XI.283-289)
- Gilgamesh said to him, to Ur-Shanabi the boatman: “Go up, Ur-Shanabi, pace out the walls of Uruk. Study the foundation terrace and examine the brickwork. Is not its masonry of kiln-fired brick? And did not Seven masters lay its foundations? One square mile of city, one square mile of gardens, one square mile of clay pits, a half square mile of Ishtar’s dwelling, three and a half square miles is the measure of Uruk.” (XI.326-332)