Nevertheless, Urshanabi wished to help, and sent Gilgamesh to the forest to cut punting poles (300 in the Old Babylonian version, each 60 cubits in length). The 45-day voyage to the Waters of Death was completed in three. Once there, the poles were used to punt the boat so that Gilgamesh, too, would not touch the lethal waters. When the last pole was gone, they hung their clothing from Gilgamesh's outstretched arms to sail the remaining distance. As they approached the shore, Utanapishtim saw that the Stone Things were smashed and that a stranger was on board. He asked Gilgamesh why he looked so wasted and desolate, and Gilgamesh once again recounted his tale of grief and weariness.
What is the theme of the epic of Gilgamesh? | Yahoo Answers
*The constellation Taurus as a symbol of astrological fate (karma). This episode with Ishtar embeds initiatory themes of baptism and temptation: Gilgamesh washes, casts aside his old "habits," and dresses himself in royal robes and crown (divine kingship). His purification and renewal immediately attracts Ishtar, who attempts to seduce and destroy him.
The Bull of Heaven likewise indicates a messianic theme. During the 4th and 3rd millennia , the sun rose in the neighborhood of Taurus at the spring equinox. That the Sumerian priest-initiates were aware of the sun's precession through the zodiacal constellations (a cycle of approximately 25,800 years) is suggested by the Sumerian King List. After the Flood, the kingship was lowered from heaven and dwelt in Kish for 24,510 years, when it was moved to Uruk; 2,044 years then elapsed (almost exactly 1⁄12 of 24,510) until the beginning of Gilgamesh's 126-year reign. In modern theosophical literature a one-twelfth part of the precessional Great Year is called a messianic cycle. Judaism is accordingly linked with the ram (Aries); Christianity with the fish (Pisces).
Like the Hindu avatar Krishna who revealed the "ancient, imperishable secret doctrines which had been lost through long lapse of time" (Bhagavad-Gita 4:1-3), Gilgamesh revealed divine wisdom lost in the Flood. After his death, Gilgamesh — who "surpassed all other kings" — is divinized as Lord of the Netherworld and linked with the "annually" dying and rising god Dumuzi; also with the Sun-god Shamash, alongside whom he judges the dead.
The Theme of the Epic of Gilgamesh Notes by Dr
Gilgamesh's motives are mixed: besides stirring his friend out of the doldrums, killing Humbaba would drive evil out of the land. But his more immediate interest — prompted by Enkidu's fear of death — gradually centers on another goal. "Who, my friend, can ascend to the heavens? Only the gods dwell forever in the sunlight with Shamash. As for humans, their days are numbered, their achievements are but a puff of wind." Even though threatening mortal danger, Humbaba is nevertheless an agent of Enlil, by whose word (or "through the opening of his mouth") the heavens are entered. Toward the Land of the Living Gilgamesh therefore set his mind, determined to raise a name for himself. Heroic exploits, he believes, will be remembered and confer a kind of immortality. "Let me start work and chop down the cedar! A name that is eternal I will establish forever!"
The Epic of Gilgamesh Theme of Death - Shmoop