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After hearing Enkidu’s curses to the trapper and Shamhat, Shamash says

Enkidu, why are you cursing the priestess Shamhat? Wasn’t it she who…. gave you splendid Gilgamesh as your intimate friend? He will lay you down on a bed of honor, he will put you on a royal bier, on his left he will place your statue in the seat of repose, the princes of the earth will kiss its feet, the people of Uruk will mourn you, and when you are gone, he will roam the wilderness with matted hair, in a lion skin” (Mitchell 147-148).

What is the significance of Gilgamesh’s characterization in this passage?


Gilgamesh’s actions illustrate the Mesopotamian mourning ritual.


Gilgamesh is characterized as a respectful friend who says his goodbyes to Enkidu and then moves on with his life, as all men must.


Gilgamesh will undergo a role reversal where the civilized man becomes the primal wanderer, which is a significant change because it reinforces the character foil pairing between Gilgamesh and Enkidu.


Gilgamesh is portrayed as mourning the loss of his friend, which is a significant character change because he has never before shown weakness.


Gilgamesh is portrayed as a lover, hinting at the romantic intimacy between the two men.

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