Why does Enkidu challenge Gilgamesh to a fight?

Gilgamesh is the powerful and oppressive king of Uruk; his reign is one marked by terror. He has grown accustomed to a lifestyle of entitlement, killing his warriors, raping his nobles’ wives, and generally taking whatever he wants when he wants it. Enkidu is created by the gods to keep Gilgamesh in check; when he learns Gilgamesh will have sex with a new bride before she can have sex with her husband, Enkidu is furious and blocks Gilgamesh’s way to the bedchamber. The two engage in combat, and although Gilgamesh narrowly wins, he and Enkidu regard each other with newfound respect, and Enkidu essentially tames the once-loathsome king.

Why did the gods decide to destroy humankind?

While the poem never offers an explicit explanation, the reader learns quite a bit of context from Utnapishtim, originally king of Shuruppak, who survived the flood. When the gods met for their council, Enlil, god of the earth, wind, and air, ordered a flood to destroy humanity; older versions of the poem purport that Enlil could not sleep due to all of the noise that humans made. Enlil is cited as the only god who pushed for this, and indeed, the other gods come to regret the flood, as they rely on the sacrifices of mortals.

Why was Utnapishtim granted eternal life?

When Ea, the god of wisdom and crafts, learned of Enlil’s plan to create the flood, he devised a means of cleverly informing Utnapishtim by describing the plan where he knew Utnapishtim would hear. He then told Utnapishtim to build a ship, filled with his family and possessions and the seeds of each living thing. After navigating the flood, Utnapishtim eventually reached shore and prepared a sacrifice. Upon seeing Utnapishtim’s boat, Enlil was furious and demanded to know who was responsible; Ea revealed it was he who told, and he chastised Enlil for executing such a foolish idea. Enlil, recognizing his mistake, granted Utnapishtim and his wife eternal life for their role in saving humanity.

How does Enkidu die?

Enkidu awakens from a nightmare in which the gods were angry at him and Gilgamesh for their recent acts of defiance—killing Humbaba, slaughtering the Bull of Heaven, cutting down the tallest cedar tree. Anu decides that one of them must die for their actions. Enlil argues that it should be Enkidu, for his role in killing Humbaba. Shamash defends him, claiming he and Gilgamesh were only acting on his orders. After the dream ends, Enkidu grows sick, and begins to curse the gods, expressing anger at his fate. He spends twelve days growing sicker and sicker in bed, and after further anguish, he finally dies.

Is Gilgamesh a god?

Gilgamesh is one part man, two parts god. Because of this, he is the greatest of all men, but he also has the fallibility of a man, heightened—that is, both his flaws and his virtues are outsized. He is a skilled warrior and builder, and suffers from an excessive lack of impulse control, taking whatever he wants and trampling anyone who gets in his way. The gods worry he has grown too powerful. As a king, he should be serving and protecting his people, but Gilgamesh terrorizes them instead. It is this point that has them decide to create Enkidu, someone strong enough to best him.