Role of Women in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

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About 2700 years ago there lived a king by the name of Gilgamesh who ruled the city of Uruk in Mesopotamia now known to us as modern day Iraq. Parts of his life are written on clay tablets believed to be the oldest existing written story of a man’s life. (XI). “The epic of Gilgamesh”, is the story of his quest for eternal life. In this paper I will be writing about the influence that the women in his life have played in his quest. The women are, Shamhat, Ninsun, Ishtar, and, “The tavern keeper”. The first woman in Gilgamesh’s quest for eternal life is Shamhat. Shamhat was a prostitute who lived in the city of Uruk. (8). As the story goes, Gilgamesh was an arrogant and abusive king to his people, so they complained to the…show more content…
Ninsun interpreted the dream as a premonition of the arrival of a friend and partner whom Gilgamesh will come to love. It is also interesting to note that the tablets say that Shamhat was simultaneously giving Enkidu the same sort of prediction as Gilgamesh. (15). The tablets also seem to imply that Gilgamesh and Enkidu may have had a homosexual relationship. (11). The third woman is Ishtar, the goddess of love and sex. (46). Gilgamesh and Enkidu decide; against everyone’s advice, to go and battle a monster guardian; Humbaba, somewhere in the rift valley of Lebanon. (18). There they overpower him and kill him even though Humbaba begs for mercy. (40). Gilgamesh and Ekidu cut down a cedar tree and build a giant door out of it as an offering to Enlil, one of the Gods. (44). Ishtar, goddess of love and sex, falls in love with Gilgamesh and so Ishtar prepossess marriage to Gilgamesh. (46). Even though Ishtar is a Goddess, Gilgamesh flatly refuses. (47). Ishtar even offers him riches and power, he still refused. Gilgamesh even went so far as to insult her as a loose woman. (47). Ishtar’s feelings were terribly hurt so she went to her father to get revenge on Gilgamesh. (48). Ishtar’s father sent a rampaging bull to destroy the land causing a terrible drought. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fought the Bull and killed it. (49). Gilgamesh cut out a piece of the animal’s heart as an offering to Shamash, one of the
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