Search: Quiz 3 (Fall 2018) Evaluation

One respondent received the highest possible score of fifteen, and the average for the quiz was 13. Here are the results:

Question Number who selected the
[best answer]
Number who selected [other
Enkidu dies 20 [4] 1 [1], 0 [2], 0 [3]
Vision 8 [2], 2 [3] 11 [1, two points], 0 [4]
Flood 6 [1] 4 [2, two points], 0 [3, one point], 11 [4, two points]
Uta-napishti 9 [2] 4 [1, two points], 6 [3, two points], 2 [4, two points]
Evolution 17 [3], 0 [4] 4 [1, two points], 0 [2]

Enkidu dies because

1. He threw a haunch from the Bull of Heaven at Ishtar and taunted her. [1]
2. He cursed Shamat, a prostitute associated with the cult of Ishtar. [0]
3. He determined how to kill the Bull of Heaven and held the beast, so Gilgamesh could kill it. [2]
4. Anu declared that either Enkidu or Gilgamesh must die, and Enlil decided that Gilgamesh should live. [3]

Enkidu’s vision of the council of the gods Anu, Enlil, Ea and Shamash, who decide his fate, comes from fragments of a Hittite version. From this source we learn that Anu says, “These, because they slew the Bull of Heaven, and slew Humbaba that [guarded] the mountains dense-[ wooded] with cedar,” so said Anu, “between these two [let one ofthem die!]” which prompts Enlil to respond, “Let Enkidu die, but let not Gilgamesh die!” (VII.4-6). Response four, therefore, was accurate and worth three points. Ultimately, the gods caused Enkidu to die, but their actions came in response to the behavior of Gilgamesh and Enkidu who together killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. The first response refers to an act that may have added to Ishtar’s anger and prompted the meeting of the gods in council, but the text as we have it does not mention any consequences related to the aftermath of the bull’s death. It is the death itself to which the gods refer, not what they did with the parts of the bull’s body. The second response refers to the passage where Enkidu curses the harlot in VII.101-133 after Enkidu learns in a dream that he will die as a consequence of killing the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba. The third choice describes how Enkidu and Gilgamesh killed the Bull of Heaven (VI.142-150), which is one of the reasons for Enkidu’s death.

As he contemplates the vision of his death, Enkidu

1. Regrets that he did not die in combat and make a name for himself. [2]
2. Wishes that he had remained in the natural state of his birth. [3]
3. Finds comfort in the assurance that he will receive honor in death both among the living and dead. [3]
4. Was embittered by the unjust decision of Anu and Enlil. [0]

The second and third choices were both accurate and worth three points. Both corresponded to specific parts of the text as it describes Enkidu’s response to the dream. The second refers to the Enkidu’s cursing the hunter and Shamhat because of their role in his transformation from one of the animals of the field to a member of a human community and Gilgamesh’s companion. See Enkidu’s appeal to Shamash in VII.92-131 and his reply to Enkidu in VII.133-148. The third refers to Enkidu’s response to Shamash in VII.148-162: “Enkidu [heard] the words of Shamash the hero, / . . . his heart so angry grew calm, / . . .  [his heard] so furious grew calm.” The first response was worth two points and reflects Enkidu’s comments to Gilgamesh: “‘[ My god] has taken against me, my friend, . . ., / [I do not die] like one who [falls] in the midst of battle. / I was afraid of combat, and / My friend, one who [falls] in combat [makes his name,] / but I, [I do not fall] in [combat, and shall make not my name]'” (VII.263-267). The fourth choice was the only response that did not yield any points. The text speaks of anger, sadness, even regret, but it also acknowledges the gods’ power. When Gilgamesh tells him that he will pray to Anu on his behalf and fashion what seems to be a dedication to the god in Enkidu’s likeness, he says: “[‘ My friend,] give no silver, give no gold, give no . . .! / The word [Enlil] spoke is not like the . . . gods’, / [what he] commands, he doesn’t erase, / [what] he sets down. . ., he doesn’t erase. / ‘My friend, fixed [is my destiny,] people go to their doom before their time’” (VII.84-89).

The flood was a bad idea because

1. The gods should not punish human beings indiscriminately. [3]
2. The gods need human beings to work the land and produce food. [2]
3. Humans ended up learning the secret of the gods anyway. [1]
4. There were better ways of diminishing the human population. [2]

The first choice, worth three points, is better than the following three because it address the fundamental problem with the broad use of natural phenomena by the gods against human populations. It is the topic of Ea’s first comments to Enlil: “‘You, the sage of the gods, the hero, / how could you lack counsel and bring on the Deluge? On him who transgresses, inflict his crime! / On him who does wrong, inflict his wrongdoing!’” (XI.183-186).The second response is true according to the creation narrative (which we did not read), but the Uta-napishti’s description does not address the point. The third response is also true (see XI.196-197), but it does not address the cause or the impact of the flood on the human population or the gods. The fourth response refers to the other options as outlined by Ea, a lion, wolf, famine, or disease, which are better only because they are not as destructive. 

Through his encounter with Uta-napishti, Gilgamesh

1. Obtains the secret to eternal youth in the plant called “The Old Man Becomes a Young Man” but loses it on his way back to Uruk. [2]
2. Realizes that Uta-napishti was just an ordinary man who happened to receive the favor of the gods. [3]
3. Fails to gain immortality because he could not stay awake for six days and seven nights. [2]
4. Returns to Uruk wearing royal robes and celebrates the expanse of the city. [2]

All of the responses are, in part, correct and worth at least two points. The second, however, best summarizes the entire encounter with Uta-napishti and the ultimate reason why Gilgamesh will not achieve his goal of physical immortality. It is not his to achieve. It is the gods’ to give. The first response is partially an outcome of his encounter with Uta-napishti. He learns about a plant  called “Old Man Grown Young” in XI.281-286, but his losing the plant is a consequence of his own negligence and has no connection to his meeting with Uta-napishti (XI.303-307). The second describes an ordeal set by Uta-napishti to demonstrate the limitations of Gilgamesh’s existence not as a mechanism for achieving immortality: “‘But you now, who’ll convene for you the gods’ assembly, / so you can find the life you search for? / For six days and seven nights, come, do without slumber!’”  (XI.207-209). Finally, Uta-napishti instructs Ur-shanabi to bathe Gilgamesh and clothe him in a way that befits his role as king (XI 253-261); however, Gilgamesh’s celebration of Uruk may have been a consequence of his meeting with Uta-napishti, but the text does not make that connection, and there may have been other factors at work.

From your perspective who contributed most to Gilgamesh’s evolution into a great king?

1. Uta-napishti [2]
2. Ishtar [1]
3. Enkidu [3]
4. Ninsun [3]

Although on can offer strong arguments for any of the choices, based strictly on the extent to which they play a role in the narrative and the degree to which they influence Gilgamesh, Ninsun, his mother, and Enkidu, his partner for the expedition to slay Humbaba, contributed more to who Gilgamesh was and became than the other two.

Leave a Reply