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Inanna

Inanna Throughout the story of Inanna, readers witness her transformation from a young lady to a beloved goddess and the frustrations and obstacles that are associated with these transformations. This transformation can be associated with her functions and roles as a woman, which relates with the theory of the Great Goddess. The relationship between Inanna and the Great Goddess follows the ideals of an agrarian society, whereupon a woman is looked to bring fertilility, life, death, and re-birth. Inannas character is developed with the uses of symbolisms and repetition to show the power of this myth, although the real power lies within her specific transformations. The first change the reader sees in Inanna is in the first paragraphs of the story, which sets the tone for the rest of the myth to unfold. Inanna begins her journey into Godhood with the finding of the huluppu-tree.

Her meticulousness in reviving the tree that was once swept away by the waters of the Euphrates signifies her passage into Godhood. Inanna is immediately intrigued with the rewards that she is expecting after taking the huluppu-tree and restoring it. This is evident in the text when she wonders, “How long will it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon? How long will it be until I have a shining bed to lie upon?” As the reader continues interpretating the text, he/she finds other examples of Inannas struggle with her inability to receive the recognition that she deserves. Inanna confides in the Sun God, Utu, and her brother, Gilgamesh for the recognition, saying, “I plucked the tree from the river; I brought it to my holy garden. I tended the tree, waiting for my shining throne and bed.” Interpreting this text, readers notice that it was constructed to repeat, showing the importance to Inanna for receiving the acclaims that she thought she deserved. Her level of adolescence is a sign of youth and lack of experience that drives her with the yearning question of when she will be idealized.

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Now the focus turns to the tools that allow Inanna to age with the experience necessary to become the Goddess that she strives to be. The reason the huluppu-tree has become the central issue of this portion of the text, is because it is used as a transition piece for Inannas growth. The significance lies beyond the presence of the tree, but what the tree is, and why it is there. Some scholars refer to this Sumerian text as having one of the first written descriptions of Genesis. The authors of Inanna use the huluppu-tree as a method to indirectly refer to the heavens.

Trees are often referred to as being sturdy because they are planted into the Earth with their roots. Here, the tree is interpreted as growing from the ground, young, small, and inexperienced with time, reaching for the heavens, wanting to take a seat among the other Gods and Goddesses. The huluppu-tree not only holds the essence of life, but also the urge for Inanna to become a beloved Goddess and when the three creatures would not leave her tree, Inanna cried out, “I wept. How I wept!” The path for Godhood was paved for Inanna when Gilgamesh, her brother, scared the three creatures away and created a throne and a crown from the sacred huluppu-tree. The attitude of Inanna changes as she encounters Enkil, the God of Wisdom and her cunning allows her to fulfill her destiny in becoming a Goddess.

Readers know how her thinking has changed as they continue through the text, interpreting the language that is unique to this myth. Semantics can often define a character in a story and in the story of Inanna semantics help the reader understand the feelings that Inanna goes through. “I, the Queen of Heaven shall visit the God of Wisdom”, this is one of the prime examples of how Inanna has grown. The emphasis being on, “I, the Queen of Heaven shall..” shows the newly appointed Goddess has the authority and the willpower to do anything that she wishes. Readers further see Inannas development in her psychology and as a Goddess through the encounter with Enkil.

Interpreting the following text reiterates her passage into Godhood and her psychological maturation, “He who knows the me, the holy laws of heavens and earth, He who knows the heart of the gods..” Later it is seen that Enki has also accepted Inanna into Godship when he tells his sukka (servant) Isimud to, “Treat her like an equal.” Inannas craftiness in taking the sacred me from Enkil proves to the reader that she has grown and matured. As Enkil repeatedly offers Inanna parts of the sacred me she repeatedly accepts by saying, “I take them.” Again, repetition is evident, and in this case it allows the reader to see the importance of the transaction that is taking place between Inanna and Enkil. After the fourteen me were taken, they were placed on the Boat of Heaven, given to Inanna by Enkil. This gift will later signify the final journey Inanna will take on her way to total immortality, but she must first escape the hangover of Enkil. We still see that Inanna is dependent on somebody, this happens to be her servant/protector Ninshubur.

At the same time as the newly appointed Goddess and her sukkal were leaving, Enkil summoned monsters to retrieve the fourteen me and the Boat of Heaven from the two. Readers actually see the first commands given by Inanna during this stand off, a sign of her newly gained power. She commands Ninshubur by saying, “Save the Boat of Heaven with the holy me!” and Ninshubur answers her masters call five more times. As the two enter the city of Uruk, Ninshubur suggests to Inanna to celebrate their victory. Inanna does so by answering her sukkals advise by saying, “On the day the Boat of Heaven enters the Nigulla Gate of Uruk, Let High water sweep over the streets; .. Let all the lands proclaim my noble name.

Let my people sing my praises.” This powerful piece of writing puts the stamp onto the fact that Inanna has made her presence felt among her followers, but with the help of her sukkal giving her sound advise. Once again repetition demonstrates the power of this myth. The Boat of Heaven has played an important role up to this point, but it is important to understand its true meaning. Throughout time vessels have held the meaning for a long unpredictable journey. Here, the vessel is the Boat of Heaven and it symbolizes Inannas body and the journey that she will undergo in the next section of the text, specifically her descent into the underworld.

Why would she abandon all of her temples and”abandon the office of holy priestess” to enter the underworld? Inannas brother in-law had died and she wished to witness the funeral procession. When confronted by Neti the gatekeeper of the underworld, Inanna demands that her wishes be answered, “Let it be done!” When Inanna is killed by the Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, we see that her sukkal has performed the duties that she was given by her master, even though Inanna had not returned. The dedication of the servant committing to her master is a symbol of all of her followers dedicated to their goddess. This is so because of Ninshubur tearing out her eyes and dressing like a beggar shows a level of commitment that is hard to believe. The unbelievement and Inannas showing of how much she controls have completed the changes from the Inanna that the readers first met. From the huluppu-tree to the Boat of Heaven and from the skies of heaven to the depths of the underworld, the new goddess has arrived.

Inanna has developed from a frail young lady into a forceful goddess with the help of time and a great sukkal. The events and the other characters that she has experienced have abled her to take her proper place among the other gods and goddesses. Obstacles such as receiving the fourteen me from Enkil has allowed Inanna to gain that necessary experience. Interpreting the text further and in more detail would show the reader that there are more symbols and semantics to study to fully appreciate the power of this myth.

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