The Epic of Gilgamesh

Ishtar Character Analysis

Ishtar is a god of fertility, love, sex, and beauty. Brash and proud, she is enraged when Gilgamesh rejects her marriage proposal. She threatens to release the dead into the world of the living if her father Anu does not release the Bull of Heaven—an event that ultimately leads to Enkidu’s death.

Ishtar Quotes in The Epic of Gilgamesh

The The Epic of Gilgamesh quotes below are all either spoken by Ishtar or refer to Ishtar. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Epic of Gilgamesh published in 1960.
Part 3 Quotes

Which of your lovers did you ever love for ever? What shepherd of yours has pleased you for all time?

Related Characters: Gilgamesh (speaker), Ishtar
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

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My father, give me the Bull of Heaven to destroy Gilgamesh. Fill Gilgamesh, I say, with arrogance to his destruction; but if you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of dead will outnumber the living.

Related Characters: Ishtar (speaker), Gilgamesh, Anu
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 5 Quotes

‘Alas the days of old are turned to dust because I commanded evil; why did I command this evil in the council of all the gods? I commanded wars to destroy the people, but are they not my people, for I brought them forth? Now like the spawn of fish they float in the ocean.’ The great gods of heaven and hell wept, they covered their mouths.

Related Characters: Ishtar (speaker), Utnapishtim (speaker)
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 6 Quotes

Gilgamesh spoke to him, to Urshanabi the ferryman, ‘Urshanabi, climb up on to the wall of Uruk, inspect its foundation terrace, and examine well the brickwork; see if it is not of burnt bricks; and did not the seven wise men lay these foundations? One third of the whole is city, one is garden, and one third is field, with the precinct of the goddess Ishtar. These parts and the precinct are all Uruk.’

Related Characters: Gilgamesh (speaker), Ishtar, Urshanabi
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Ishtar Character Timeline in The Epic of Gilgamesh

The timeline below shows where the character Ishtar appears in The Epic of Gilgamesh. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3: Ishtar and Gilgamesh, and the Death of Enkidu
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...weapons, and puts on his royal robes. Once he puts on his crown, the goddess Ishtar speaks to Gilgamesh: she tells him to come to her and be her husband. She... (full context)
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Gilgamesh’s speech enrages Ishtar. She tells her mother and father, Antum and Anu, that Gilgamesh has insulted her. Ishtar... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Anu grants Ishtar the Bull of Heaven. She leads it to Uruk, where the Bull goes to the... (full context)
Part 5: The Story of the Flood
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...night, and a tempest comes that is so terrible even the gods fear it. Then Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven, asks herself why she had commanded that mankind be destroyed, for... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...a mountaintop in a heated cauldron. The gods “gathered like flies over the sacrifice.” Finally, Ishtar comes. (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Ishtar swears that she will remember the flood and all that happened. She tells all the... (full context)