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In a 550-750 word essay, you will answer one of the literary analysis prompts listed below to examine the Epic of Gilgamesh or Medea in more depth.

The Epic of Gilgamesh was written with the intention of reading it out loud. It was a text that was part of the oral tradition in ancient Mesopotamia. What are the signs of this in the text? What literary devices and style elements would have helped this text stick in listeners’ memories? Think about: repetition, symbolism, parallelism, using exclamations and drama language, and stating things simply, in a way that people could easily follow. Examine Gilgamesh for these things, and provide examples from the epic in your essay in order to show how Gilgamesh is designed to be heard out loud and memorized.
The relationships between gods and humans in Gilgamesh are very different from those in other ancient texts, particularly the Old Testament from the Bible. What is different about Gilgamesh? How does Gilgamesh relate to the gods, and how do they react toward him? Use examples from the epic to analyze the relationships between Gilgamesh and the various gods in the story.

Thematically, Gilgamesh is full of binaries (pairs of opposites): Enkidu’s wild nature versus Gilgamesh’s power over the city, pride vs. humility, immortality vs. mortality, love and friendship vs. wrath and hatred. Select one or two of these opposite pairs and discuss how the binaries are described in the epic, why they might have been included in the epic, and how these opposites affect the characters and the plot of the poem. Remember that comparing two things that are opposite each other is a good way to teach about differences–are the binaries you chose trying to teach or show the readers anything?

Medea was written at a time when women in Athens had no power–they could not vote, could not own land or get divorces, and traditionally, their only “job” in society was to stay home and raise children. Read what the play Medea has to say about women. How is Medea different from traditional Greek women? In what ways does she differ from traditional expectations? Give specific examples that help to show her differences and the way she does not conform to expectations.

In ancient Greek tragedies, the main character of the play typically suffers because he or she has a “tragic flaw”–a problem with their personality or mindset that causes them to make bad decisions, leading to a crisis. What is Medea’s tragic flaw, and how does this flaw in her personality lead to the tragedy at the end of the play? Use specific examples from the play to prove your points.

Read the play Medea very closely and think about the idea of parenthood. Normally we think of parents as protectors, role models, and guardians for their children. Examine Medea’s comments about her children and being a mother throughout the story. Compare Medea’s thoughts about her children to what the chorus and other characters say about how women in ancient Greece should act. How does the play Medea challenge the traditional images or ideas we have for mothers? In what ways does Medea differ from the traditional Greece image of a mother? Use evidence from the play to support your claim.

You should utilize quotes/paraphrasing from the Epic of Gilgamesh or Medea to help support your analysis. Remember, you always need evidence to prove your case.

Do not use any sources other than the actual story–do not use any material from websites about the Epic of Gilgamesh or Medea. Your paper must be your own original thought, not borrowed off a summary website or sample paper! Essays that appear to be based on online sample papers or other websites will receive a 0 score for plagiarism!

Use Microsoft Word to write your paper. Double space your lines and use Times New Roman 12pt font.

Please utilize MLA format throughout your paper and to cite your sources. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a great source of information on MLA format.

This assignment will be assessed with TurnItIn software to assess for plagiarism, so please cite your sources thoroughly.


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