The Epic of Gilgamesh
by Sebastian Lockwood
The Epic of Gilgamesh is about a being who is two parts humans one part God who rules in the Sumerian city of Uruk between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in what today we call Bagdad. This story has themes of coming of age, recognizing mortality, friendship, hubris, the power of story.
Storytelling Synopsis for Gilgamesh:
Meet the King of Kings, Gilgamesh. The Gods create Enkidu as a companion and equal to tame Gilgamesh’s power. Gilgamesh and Enkidu set off to defeat the great monster of the forest which leads to Enkidu’ death and Gilgamesh’s journey to find out why we die. He returns with the story. Themes: coming of age, recognizing mortality, friendship, hubris, the power of story.
More About The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh– Gilgamesh, the King two parts humans one part God rules in the Sumerian city of Uruk between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in what today we call Bagdad.
Gilgamesh is the King of Kings – no man can contend with him, he works without rest, he takes the brides on their wedding night, he is too much. The people beg the Gods for help. Enlil and Ea, Ishtar and Anu council and agree to create Enkidu who will be an equal for Gilgamesh.
Ea breathes life into clay and creates Enkidu who is raised by the wolves in the wild. He runs and talks with the animals, he is wild. A hunter goes to Gilgamesh asking how to deal with the Wildman who frees the animals from his traps. Gilgamesh tells him to take a temple prostitute who will tame Enkidu, who will civilize the wild man.
When Enkidu meets Gilgamesh they fight for seven days and seven nights, they become brothers. They set out to accomplish the great feat: to kill Huwawa the monster who lives amongst the cedars of Lebanon.
After their victory, they mock Ishtar, in payment one of them must die. When Gilgamesh looses Enkidu he cannot fathom his grief, he must know the answer to the eternal question: why do we die?
To find the answer, Gilgamesh must meet Utnapishtim – who’s parallel we find as Noah of The Flood in the Bible – Utnapishtim will give Gilgamesh and answer, neither the one he wants nor expects.
When Gilgamesh returns home, he writes the story on clay tablets so that his people will know, he writes his name on the clay tablet. He knows that because the story will live forever, his name will live forever. That’s why we tell the story.
Four thousand years after the tablets were excavated and translated with the work of many brilliant and American scholars we now have the story. For this story, Lockwood is particularly indebted to the great Danish Scholar Thorkild Jacobsen, a dear friend and mentor. Lockwood is also indebted to the great version by Geraldine McCaughrean Gilgamesh the Hero, the work of John Gardner, John Maier, the beautiful prose translation by N. K Sandars and the exact and poetic rendering by David Ferry.
General Information Links about The Epic of Gilgamesh
www.piney.com/EriduGen An excerpt from Thorkild Jacobsen’s book The Harp’s that Once…