The Epic of Gilgamesh | Study Guide


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The Epic of Gilgamesh | Characters

Character Description
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh is the epic's hero and Uruk's cruel, selfish king until his journey helps him attain wisdom. Read More
Enkidu The gods create Enkidu to be a wild, strong man whose spirit can balance Gilgamesh's power and to be the king's brother in adventure. Read More
Utnapishtim An old man favored of some gods, Utnapishtim survives the Great Flood and escapes mortality. Read More
Ishtar Ishtar, the jealous goddess of sexual love and war, seeks various lovers—not always to their benefits. Read More
Siduri Siduri is the goddess of brewing and wisdom. She keeps the tavern at the edge of the world, where she tries to advise Gilgamesh. Read More
Shamhat Ishtar's priestess, Shamhat uses sexual intimacy to bring Enkidu out of the wild and entice him to Uruk. Read More
Urshanabi Urshanabi is Utnapishtim's boatman; he ferries Gilgamesh across the Waters of Death and is the king's companion for part of his journey. Read More
Adad Adad is the god of storms.
Antu The goddess Antu is Anu's wife and mother of Ishtar.
Anu Anu is the Sumerian sky god and the father of Ishtar.
Aruru Goddess of creation, Aruru helped Ea create humans and shaped Gilgamesh and Enkidu as mighty men.
Aya Aya is the goddess of dawn and wife to Shamash.
Belet-seri Belet-seri is a scribe of records of the living and the dead in the underworld.
Bibbu Bibbu is the gods' butcher.
Ea Ea is the god of wisdom, creation, and magic; his gifts to humanity, such as the plow, improve their lives.
Enlil With Ea and Aruru, Enlil rules the universe, but he can be cruel—he sent the Great Flood, for example.
Ennugi Ennugi enforces divine law among the gods.
Ereshkigal Ereshkigal is Ishtar's sister and queen of the underworld.
Etana Etana was king in Kish during the time of the Great Flood and ruled in the underworld.
The gods The gods speak and act collectively at times, as they do when they ask Anu to intercede for the people of Uruk and protect them from Gilgamesh's excesses.
Hanish Hanish is one of the twin gods of destruction who travel with the storm god, Adad.
Humbaba Humbaba is a terrifying monster assigned by the gods to protect the Cedar Forest.
Hushbishag Hushbishag is a divine servant of the gods of the underworld.
Ishullanu Ishullanu, a gardener, is one of Ishtar's many lovers, till she transforms him into a toad.
Lugalbanda Gilgamesh's father, Lugalbanda was king of Uruk and later became a god in the underworld.
Namtar Namtar is the gatekeeper of the underworld.
Nergal Husband of Ereshkigal, queen of the underworld, Nergal is also the god of plague.
Ninshuluhha Ninshuluhha is the divine housekeeper of the underworld.
Ninsun Ninsun is a lesser goddess and Gilgamesh's mother.
Ninurta Enlil's divine son, Ninurta is god of agriculture and sometimes of war.
Puzur-amurri Puzur-amurri builds Utnapishtim's boat.
Qassa-tabat Qassa-tabat is a divine servant in the underworld.
The scorpion man This terrifying creature guards the tunnel through which the sun passes each night before rising again in the east; he shows Gilgamesh the way to Utnapishtim.
The scorpion man's wife This terrifying creature guards the tunnel through which the sun passes each night before rising again in the east. She recognizes Gilgamesh's semidivinity.
The Stone Men The Stone Men crew Urshanabi's boat because the Waters of Death can't harm them.
Shamash Shamash, more than the other gods, protects Gilgamesh. He is god of the sun and of justice and patron of travelers.
Shullat Shullat is one of the twin gods of destruction who travel with the storm god, Adad.
Silili Silili is the goddess from whom all horses descend.
Sîn Enlil's divine son, Sîn is god of the moon and of fertility.
Sumuqan Sumuqan protects wild animals and is god of the wilderness.
Tammuz Tammuz is Ishtar's husband, banished by her to the underworld.
Trapper The trapper discovers Enkidu living among the herds and brings Shamhat to tame Enkidu.
Utnapishtim's wife Utnapishtim's wife, who shares his immortality, pities Gilgamesh and urges her husband to help him.
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