Male and Female in the Epic of Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in 2100 BC and was also the first piece of literature that was written which was later discovered. In this epic there is a king named Gilgamesh who ruled a city called Uruk. His life and problems in his life were discovered on stone tablets and it is to be the oldest and first written piece of literature.

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Essentially this epic is about Gilgamesh becoming comfortable with death and trying to gain eternal life. In this paper I will be writing about how the roles of women is positive and yields to be important when analyzing this piece of literature. (Buried Book)

The main characters in this epic consisted of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Humbaba, Siduri, Utnaphishtim, and Shamhat. Gilgamesh is half man half god and was the king of the city Uruk. Gilgamesh is known for his handsomeness and his strength and later became conceided. Gilgamesh even created laws which included by sexually exploiting young women by being able to have sex with them the night before their wedding. The citizens of Uruk reach out to the gods about the dictatorship happening in Uruk. The god Aruru responds and has the goddess Aruru to create an equal to Gilgamesh who will be Enkidu. (Evolution)

Enkidu is currently a man who lives with the animals and encounters a trapper who went to Gilgamesh out of fear. Upon request the trapper goes back to the watering hole that he previously spotted Enkidu at and he’s accompanied by a woman named Shamhat who is a prostitute. Once Shamhat and Enkidu encounter each other the prostitute persuades Enkidu to have sex with her. Afterwards the animals reject him since he has been civilized according them; Enkidu then goes to Uruk with Shamhat and starts living with her. Eventually Gilgamesh and Enkidu meet Gilgamesh and later become friends after having a fight after wanting to determine dominance. (Norton Anthology)

Gilgamesh randomly decides that one day he would go to the Cedar Forest to kill Humbaba who is a monster who guards the forest. Even though Enkidu and the city of Uruk was against the voyage, both Gilgamesh and Enkidu set out to kill the monster Humbaba. When they arrive to Cedar Forest, Shamash who is the god of the sun helps them overpower the monster who soon starts to plead for his life. Enkidu ignored Gilgamesh’s instincts to grant the monster life and kills him. Afterwards, both Gilgamesh and Enkidu chop down the tallest tree in the forest and dedicates it to the god Enlil. To get back home they built a raft and float down the Euphrates river along with the head of Humbaba. (Norton Anthology)

At this time in the epic, Ishtar who is a goddess has developed a crush on Gilgamesh and asked for his hand in marriage.

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