The Epic of Gilgamesh Characters
GilgameshThe protagonist of the story and the King of Uruk. He is credited with having built the city walls of Uruk to protect its people. In most translations, he is described as being one-third man and two-thirds god. His mother is Ninsun, a goddess. His father is Lugalbanda, a past King of Uruk.
EnkiduA wild man who becomes Gilgamesh's best friend. After being visited by Shamhat, the prostitute, Enkidu is civilized and leaves the animal world behind to journey with Shamhat to Uruk. Enkidu accompanies Gilgamesh to defeat Humbaba before he passes away. Gilgamesh journeys to the Underworld to try to bring Enkidu back to life.
ShamhatA temple prostitute sent by Gilgamesh to civilize Enkidu. Shamhat seduces Enkidu and he sleeps with her for six days and seven nights. She brings him back to Uruk with her where he first encounters Gilgamesh.
NinsunGilgamesh's mother and a goddess. She prays for Gilgamesh and Enkidu before they embark to fight Humbaba in the cedar forest.
Humbaba/HuwawaThe Guardian of the cedar forest. Humbaba is defeated and killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
Ishtar/IrniniGoddess of Love, Fertility, and War, and daughter of Anu. Ishtar sends the Bull of Heaven to attack Gilgamesh after he spurns her advances.
AnuThe father of the Sumerian Gods. Ishtar appeals to him for help after Gilgamesh spurns her advances.
UrshanabiThe boatman who takes Gilgamesh over the waters of the dead to see Utnapishtim.
UtnapishtimInstructed by Ea to build a boat before the flood that destroyed the city of Shurrupak. Utnapishtim is granted immortality for his role. Gilgamesh seeks him out after Enkidu's death. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of the flood and tells him where to find a magic plant that can grant immortality.
The Bull of HeavenReferred to in some translations as "Gugalanna," the Bull of Heaven was sent to punish Gilgamesh for rejecting Ishtar's sexual advances. Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the Bull of Heaven and insult Ishtar.
SiduriA barmaid and alewife that Gilgamesh encounters on his journey into the Underworld. Siduri resides in a cottage by the sea. She discourages Gilgamesh on his pursuit for immortality but ultimately directs him to the boatman Urshanabi.
EnlilThe storm god, wind god, and god of destiny.
LugalbandaThe father of Gilgamesh, a great hero king of Uruk.
Aruru/MammetumThe mother goddess who established life and death.
NergalLord of the underworld.
NinurtaThe god of war, chaos, and silence.
ShamashThe god of light and the sun, he aids Enkidu and Gilgamesh in their fight with Humbaba.
SinThe god of the moon.
SumuqanThe god of cattle.
The Epic of Gilgamesh Essays and Related Content
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- The Epic of Gilgamesh Summary
- About The Epic of Gilgamesh
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet I
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet II and Tablet III
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet IV and Tablet V
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet VI and Tablet VII
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet VIII and Tablet IX
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet X
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet XI
- Summary and Analysis of Tablet XII
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