Dreams of Gilgamesh

Dreams of Gilgamesh When looking into the meanings of dreams, a variation of things can be found. Most people believe that dreams are a reflection of people’s inner thoughts and feelings. Most of these feelings are too private to be expressed in the real world and that is why they are expressed in a fantasy type way through dreams. In Gilgamesh, dreams are used as a form of communication between the Gods and humans. Major events are seen through these dreams and fantasies are foretold. In the ancient Mesopotamian culture, dreams play a major role.
Dreams foretold the coming of Enkidu, the death of Enkidu, the protection of Shamhat during the battle with Humbaba, and much more. The fact that dreams play such an important role in this story, would lead you to believe that dreams have a significant place in society. The first mention of dreams in Gilgamesh come with Enkidu and the harlot in the wilderness. The purpose of this scene is to show that dreams tell the future. It is important for Gilgamesh to know that Enkidu is coming because he needs to know that Enkidu is there to bring him no harm.
Enkidu was created to be on Gilgamesh’s side, not to challenge him. In the next scene Gilgamesh has a dream but he did not understand the dream so he asks his mother its meaning. “Mother, I had a dream last night: There were stars of heaven around me, Like the force of heaven, something kept falling upon me! I tried to carry it but it was too strong for me, I tried to move it but I could not budge it. The whole of Uruk was standing by it, The people formed a crowd around it, A throng was jostling towards it, Young men were mobbed around it, Infantile, they were groveling before it!

I fell in love with it, like a woman I caressed it, I carried it off and laid it down before you, Then you were making it my partner. ”(page 19, tablet I, lines 246-258). This dream is very significant because it foretells the first confrontation of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The introduction of Enkidu in Gilgamesh’s life is symbolic of someone finding a companion. In another scene, we are given a view into Humbaba. “Humbaba’s cry is the roar of a deluge, His maw is fire, his breath is death, He can hear rustling in the forest for sixty double leagues. Who can go into his forest?
Adad is first and Humbaba is second. Who, even among the gods, could attack him? In order to safeguard the forest of cedars, Enlil has appointed him to terrify the people, Enlil has destined him seven fearsome glories, Besides, whosoever enters his forest is struck down by disease. ” (page 25, tablet II, lines 171-180). This is very significant in that it lets us know the nature of who Humbaba is. It’s clear that Humbaba is quite evil according to this passage. Gilgamesh’s dreams make him supremely confident during his attempts to overcome Humbaba.
Gilgamesh believes he can prevail against Humbaba. Due to his focus and heroism, Gilgamesh is capable of slaying a horrifying, evil monster like Humbaba. Dreams are a constant motivation for Gilgamesh, and although at times he feels physically incapable of continuing on his quest for everlasting life, his focus on achieving his goal, drives him past any conceivable ability. The dreams all play the same role in this story. They foreshadow what is to come, motivation for Gilgamesh, and they assist in the strengthening of the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
Most importantly, Gilgamesh makes his journey not for fortune or fame, but purely for spiritual knowledge. Often the purpose of his journey is not really what he thinks it is, and the knowledge he’s looking for is not the knowledge he ultimately gains. By killing Humbaba, Gilgamesh discovers that the fame he finds only opens him up to new responsibilities, challenges and psychic wounds. He learns why the goal of the journey of life isn’t what he thought it was. He has to go on a second and much more difficult journey, one with a more spiritual goal.
But even though this journey is more spiritual in character, it’s still not spiritual enough. His goals are still selfish. Gilgamesh isn’t ready to be a king until he wants something not just for himself or for Enkidu but for the whole of Uruk. He also isn’t ready to be king until he accepts human limits, embraces his humanity, and decides to seek a goal that makes sense for human beings. The importance of knowing what is going to happen before it actually happens is to build dramatic tension.
Even though you may know what’s going to happen next, it doesn’t ruin the story. You may know who Gilgamesh will encounter next, but there will still be questions as to when and why. Also, by knowing a preview of what happens in advance, it helps prevent confusion and makes it more likely you will believe fantastic events in the story if you prepare for such events. It also helps prepare you for outlandish occurrences in the story. Works Cited Stephen, Owen. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Shorter 2nd. New York: W. W Norton & Company,INC, 2009. 9-33. Print.

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