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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Epic of Gilgamesh

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

This epic takes place in a region known as Mesopotamia—which is a Greek term meaning "between two rivers." Shockingly, Mesopotamia rests between two rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. This is...

Narrator Point of View

On the whole, the omniscient third-person narrator of The Epic of Gilgamesh sticks to pretty basic narration of the "He said, she said; he did, she did" variety. Thus, for the most part, both the n...

Genre

Based on Actual Events … Or NotIt's clear that the story of Gilgamesh—the historical king of Uruk—was handed down from one generation to the next, sort of like a game of telephone, emphasizin...

Tone

If you said that the tone of the Epic of Gilgamesh was "serious," you wouldn't be far off. Most of the epic has to do with fights, quests, death, sorrow, and that sort of thing. This dark subject m...

Writing Style

On the whole, the writing style of the Epic of Gilgamesh is pretty straightforward: it just tells the story, without throwing in too many stylistic curlicues. There is no attempt to build us up to...

What's Up With the Title?

In ancient Mesopotamia, authors didn't get too creative with the titles of their works. Remember, this is the oldest literary work we have—so the Sumerians may have just referred to it as "that o...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

The Epic of Gilgamesh doesn't have an official epigraph, but many scholars treat the first portion (the one that Kovacs entitles "The Legacy") as though it were an epigraph. This is a 27-line intro...

What's Up With the Ending?

The last words of The Epic of Gilgamesh repeat (with a slight variation) the opening words of the poem. Just like the opening of the poem, they are an invitation to look at the city of Uruk, to tak...

Tough-o-Meter

Okay, so The Epic of Gilgamesh is a 3000-year-old poem from a culture you know practically nothing about, featuring weird characters and gods you've never heard of, and is preserved on clay tablets...

Plot Analysis

Macho, Macho Men King Gilgamesh is treating his people in a really nasty way. The gods hear the people's complaints and create Enkidu as Gilgamesh's equal. So, we have Gilgamesh, a mindlessly...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Gilgamesh is a proud and immature king who is driving his citizens crazy with his incessant demands for athletic contests and sex. In response to the prayers of the people of Uruk, the gods create...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Bros Will Be BrosGilgamesh is immature; Enkidu is ignorant. Enkidu is initiated into the ways of humanity and heads to Uruk to confront Gilgamesh. After Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight, they become the...

Trivia

Gilgamesh is a recurring character in Final Fantasy series of video games. (With a buddy named Enkidu, natch.) In the video game Civilization IV, Gilgamesh is the leader of the Sumerian civilizatio...

Steaminess Rating

Let's put it this way: when a basic element in the plot hinges on Enkidu having sex with a temple-prostitute, you're just not getting away without a little canoodling. That said, the sex rating of...

Allusions

Look, when you're the first piece of literature basically ever, you just don't have anything to shout out to. It's a lonely life.
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