Gender Roles in The Epic of Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gender roles The Epic of Gilgamesh chronicles the life of the great warrior and hero Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is not great hero because he is moral. In fact he is feared because "a goddess made him, strong as a savage bull, none can withstand his arms" (1). This phrase underlines the terrible power of femininity, in the view of the Mesopotamian culture that produced the text. On one hand, the female principle is responsible for creation. On the other hand, the female principle also has the ability to destroy: the epic takes a largely dim perspective of humanity, and often, by extension of women, because the source of all creation is a goddess, Aruru. Aruru creates but she also generates suffering. Gilgamesh's friend Enkidu runs wild until he sleeps with a harlot, after which the wild beasts which were once his friends reject him, suggesting that femininity is also a source of male disempowerment. Although Aruru is the source of both the life of Gilgamesh and his beloved companion Enkidu, the two friends create a society between themselves that is essentially masculine. This masculine relationship is the most positive force in the epic. Gilgamesh is known for his sexual prowess amongst women, but his feelings for Enkidu run much deeper and are more profound. He is said to be drawn to Enkidu "as though to a woman" but no relationship Gilgamesh has with women parallels the one he has with Enkidu (2). As well as creation, love is personified as a female,
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