“He who has seen everything, I will make known to the lands” (1). An epic beginning to an epic story. The Epic of Gilgamesh was not composed to be subtle. It was written to immortalize the actions, and myths, of one man’s life. It’s extravagance was designed to grab the attention of listeners, and captivate audiences. The first tablet of the epic serves to establish the story and its characters, as well as bring gabbing listener’s attention. Originally, this piece was composed to be told aloud by a bard. This style, as well as the juxtaposition of extravagant, lengthy descriptions of Gilgamesh, next to brief, plain discussion of Enkidu work to impress upon listeners Gilgamesh’s magnificence.
THE USE OF THE BARD
The epic opens with an…show more content…
Every time the same action or event is described, the exact same phrases are used. This technique is used in the first tablet when describing Gilgamesh’s dream about Enkidu. He first describes the dream to his mother, and she in turn says it back to him, using the exact same wording and a very similar line structure, changing only the pronouns from first person to second person prior to interpreting it. Gilgamesh then describes another dream to her and she again tells the dream back to him before interpreting it. This was common in oral poetry for multiple reasons. The primary purpose was to make stories such as these easier for the speaker to memorize. If a dream is described, and then a character tells people about the dream in separate incidents, having to remember each of the various ways the dream was described would become very difficult, and considering bards would often have entire epics memorized, having to remember multiple tellings of the same dream would have been pointlessly tedious and too difficult. These sort of stock pieces of a story also gave speakers time to remember what their next portion of the story was.
Lastly, these sections served to create suspense and drama in the story. By repeating the exact same lines multiple times, speakers forced listeners to wait for the answer to the dream or the end of the journey as the suspense built. If you are being told the story by someone else,