Sleep is often a poetic euphemism for death; Utanapishtim even says as much when Gilgamesh finally catches up with him... "How alike are the sleeping and the dead..." In any event, Gilgamesh's foreboding deepens as they face the entrance to the forest.

Gilgamesh and Enkidu find and confront Humbaba, and Humbaba tries to pursuade Gilgamesh to make friends with it, but Enkidu advises him to kill it, for fearing the wrath of Shammash. Gilgamesh is having second thoughts about killing Humbaba, but Enkidu turns his ear and they do end up killing the monster. Of course, this angers all the gods except Shammash, who are finally provoked past the limits of patience when the duo kill the Bull of Heaven which Ishtar petulantly lets loose on Uruk. However, unable to bring themselves to kill Gilgamesh, they focus on Enkidu instead and inflict him with a long terminal illness.

So it...
[ View Full Essay]