The Epic of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Timeline and Summary
- They don't call this the Epic of Gilgamesh for nothing.Aside from some scenes focusing on Enkidu before he comes to Uruk and Utanapishtim's lengthy narrative about the Flood, the hero Gilgamesh appears in practically every scene of this story. As a result, his individual character timeline is pretty much the same as the plot summary of the epic itself.
- Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk. His outrageous behavior is making the people of Uruk very angry, and they pray to the gods for help; Enkidu is the answer to their prayers.
- Enkidu and Gilgamesh take it outside in an epic wrestling match. The fight is close, but Gilgamesh wins. They are now best friends. (Yeah, it is a little sudden.)
- Time passes. Gilgamesh suggests to Enkidu that they go together to the Cedar Forest and kill the monster Humbaba. Enkidu thinks not. Gilgamesh convinces him.
- Gilgamesh and Enkidu make record time to the Cedar Forest. Gilgamesh has some freaky dreams, but Enkidu convinces him that they are all good omens. Gilgamesh and Enkidu take turns losing courage and then egging each other on.
- They find Humbaba and, with Shamash's help, Gilgamesh goes in for the kill. Humbaba begs for mercy. Gilgamesh thinks of letting him live. Enkidu convinces him to kill Humababa.
- They cut down the tallest cedar in the forest, make a raft and sail it back to Uruk.
- Ishtar suggests to Gilgamesh that they go steady. Gilgamesh declines. Ishtar is enraged, and sends the Bull of Heaven as punishment. Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay it.
- In a dream, the friends discover the gods plan to kill Enkidu as punishment. Gilgamesh starts crying. Enkidu dies; Gilgamesh is super sad. He stays next to Enkidu's body for a week. He cuts his hair and rips up his snazzy royal robes.
- Gilgamesh decides to locate Utanapishtim to find the secret of immortality.
- He voyages to Mount Mashu and meets the two Scorpion-beings. They tell him to go to where the sun rises.
- There, he meets a tavern keeper named Siduri. She tells him where to find Urshanabi, the Ferryman.
- Gilgamesh finds Urshanabi's boat and destroys the "stone things." They, nevertheless, eventually make it across the Waters of Death to Utanapishtim.
- Utanapishtim tells Gilgamesh the story of the Flood.
- Gilgamesh tries to stay awake for six days and seven nights, but he fails and sleeps that long instead. Gilgamesh laments that Death is still after him.
- Gilgamesh goes to the bottom of a watering hole to find a plant Utanapishtim told him about that will give him youth. He gets it and starts on his way back to Uruk with Urshanabi.
- They stop for the night beside a spring of water. A snake comes and steals the plant while Gilgamesh is having a bath in the spring.When Gilgamesh realizes that he has lost the plant, he starts crying. He thinks that his entire quest was a waste.
- He and Urshanabi return to Uruk. When they arrive at the city, Gilgamesh triumphantly lists the notable features of the city.