Study Guide

The Epic of Gilgamesh Chapter 3, Tablet 3

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Chapter 3, Tablet 3

  • It doesn't look like Gilgamesh has taken the wise men's advice not to fight Humbaba.
  • That's because, at the beginning of Tablet 3, the wise men are actually giving him advice on how to fight the monster. This suggests that Gilgamesh has already made his decision to go on the quest.
  • Basically, the wise men tell Gilgamesh and Enkidu to look out for each other. What's going to work? Teamwork!
  • Then, they give a special message to Enkidu: look after then king.
  • After the meeting, Gilgamesh takes Enkidu by the hand and leads him to the temple of Ninsun, Gilgamesh's goddess mother.
  • Gilgamesh prays to Ninsun to speak on their behalf to Shamash, the sun god. He asks her to get Shamash to watch over them on their quest.
  • Ninsun hears her son's prayers. She goes up to the roof of her own temple and offers prayers to Shamash, telling him to protect her son on his quest.
  • Then Ninsun performs a special ceremony to show she accepts Enkidu as a companion for her son.
  • The tablet closes with the wise men of Uruk telling Enkidu to be a steadfast friend to Gilgamesh on his journey.
  • So what does Enkidu do? He tells Gilgamesh to turn back and abandon his crazy quest. Now that's a friend.

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