The opening section of this tablet features the only true narration in the entire show. E and G have returned to Uruk-Haven as conquering heroes, convinced now that they will be regarded forevermore for their deeds. Gilgamesh retires to his chamber, putting on his finest royal robes.
The goddess Ishtar enters. Gilgamesh’s prowess in defeating the demon Humbaba has filled her with desire for him, and she entices him to become her lover. However, Gilgamesh rebuffs her, listing off a litany of her previous lovers and the unfortunate fates that befell them.
Angry and dejected, Ishtar runs to her parents, Anu and Anrum, and complains of Gilgamesh’s slander. They basically tell her to get over it. She demands that they give her use of the Bull of Heaven, which she will use to seek revenge against Gilgamesh and Uruk-Haven; if they do not, she threatens she will kick down the gates of the underworld and release the living dead to devour the living upon the Earth. Her parents acquiesce.
The Children of Uruk sing the tale of the great battle between Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Bull of Heaven, while the scene is enacted on stage. The beast puts up a mighty battle, but the pair defeat him without godly intervention. They give the Bull’s heart to Shamash, and Gilgamesh hangs the beast’s horns on his bedroom wall.
Ishtar is stood up on the walls of Uruk, wailing away, bemoaning the destruction of the Bull, and further threatening Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu taunts her, saying the same will happen to her if she comes down from the wall. He tears the hindquarters off the Bull, and flings it at Ishtar, striking her in the face. She leaves, more enraged than ever, whilst Gilgamesh and Enkidu are carried along in drunken celebration by the people of Uruk, Gilgamesh bragging about his own awesomeness.
Finally, drunk and exhausted, they fall asleep.