Gilgamesh Summary

There was a man – mighty and inexorable – Gilgamesh, the perfect, the terror. None could withstand his stormy heart. So Aruru the goddess molded another from clay and divine spittle, the stormy-hearted double Enkidu. Enkidu lived as a beast until Shamhat the harlot found him, lay with him for seven days, and brought him to Uruk. Thus Enkidu met Gilgamesh. The two clashed and Gilgamesh proved the victor. Together, under Shamash’s guidance, Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew Huwawa the demon and secured fame for all their sons. Together, they slew the Bull of Heaven sent by Ishtar, whose love Gilgamesh had scorned. Ishtar’s wrath mounted, and at her urging, the gods struck down Enkidu.
Grieving Enkidu’s death and fearing his own, Gilgamesh forsook his beautiful city for life like a beast’s. He journeyed to Mashu, the twin-peaked mountain guarded by Twin Dragon Scorpion Beings. He journeyed through twelve leagues of darkness. He journeyed to the sea, to Veiled Siduri who urged him to rest, but Gilgamesh refused and pressed onward. He journeyed across glittering waters to Urshànabi the boatman, who ferried him to the Faraway, where an old man dwelt – Utnapishtim, whom the gods had granted immortality, who spoke of the Great Flood, who tested Gilgamesh and found him lacking.
Yet Utnapishtim relented and told Gilgamesh of a secret plant, How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man. Gilgamesh claimed the plant from the waters. Yet a snake stole the plant while Gilgamesh slept, and upon discovering his loss, he wept for his wasted journey. He understood at last, returned to Uruk, and scribed the tale upon the stone tablet.
Study the story of a man – mighty and inexorable – the perfect, the terror, who journeyed and returned, the story of Gilgamesh the King.