127-29: Ninsun contributes one third of his divinity, Lugalbanda one third plus the one third of his humanity) but does not consider the other uses of thirds in the poem, such as the name of Uta-napishtim's boatman ("Servant of (Mr.?) Two-thirds," meaning Utanapishtim
?) or the lay-out of Uruk itself, also divided into thirds plus the temple complex, not to mention the mysterious reference to two thirds in the launching of the ark (Tablet XI line 80).
In his search, Gilgamesh meets the immortal Utanapishtim
Eventually the hero returns to Uruk reconciled to the inevitable end of the journey and possessing a new appreciation for home and the virtues of "placedness" (also deepened by the memory of the apocalypse of the flood story related by Utanapishtim in the final tablet).
Now Gilgamesh's travel is described during the final journey of the poem as a "restless roaming in the steppe" (for instance, at 9: 26-7, 10: 101-102 and 10: 151) at the same time that it is incongruously described as a quest to find Utanapishtim, from whom Gilgamesh seeks to obtain the secret of eternal life.
This ironic tension underlying Gilgamesh's travel explains the detached, vaguely parodic treatment of the quest journey to Utanapishtim that takes up the latter part of the work.
Finally, however, Siduri tells Gilgamesh he can cross the sea to Utanapishtim with the boatman Ur-Shanabi (10: 103-115).
Upon arrival, Utanapishtim also asks, again, somewhat incongruously given the context of the quest: "Why are you clad in a lion skin, roaming the steppe?" (10: 237) and admonishes the hero: "You strive ceaselessly, what do you gain" (10: 297).
Liminality leads Ackerman to some interesting discussion of separation, adventure, tests, trials, revelation of secret things, "reaggregation," and the female character outside of organized society and the home (including a fine rehabilitation of Utanapishtim's wife, pp.
She is nameless, like the wife of Utanapishtim and the wife of the scorpion man.
Enkidu has hair like a goddess (SB I 107), a pelt like a god (SB I 109), strength like a god (SB I 125, etc.); he becomes like a god (OB II 53 = SB I 207), Gilgamesh is like a god (OB II 194), and even Utanapishtim
(but not his wife!) is like a god (SB XI 204).
In addition to examples already quoted, note: Utanapishtim
lives in Dilmun according to the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic (p.