The Epic Of Gilgamesh And Gilgamesh

2053 Words Oct 6th, 2016 9 Pages
While the women in the Epic of Gilgamesh may not be the primary focus of the epic, which instead recounts more of Gilgamesh’s own trials and travails, they still play quite vital roles in their interactions with both Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Women such as Shamhat, Ninsun, and Ishtar in The Epic of Gilgamesh are often portrayed with a particular emphasis on their intrinsic connections to civilization—and in the case of Shamhat and Ninsun, in terms of their motherly characteristics as well—which serves as their primary influence over men. When taken into account with Gilgamesh’s overarching quest for immortality, this inherent connection that women have with civilization, and particularly so through their roles as mothers of not just a single character, but in general of the entire progeny of civilization itself, lends to the notion that women themselves are the very progenitors of civilization who will ultimately uphold Gilgamesh’s own quest for immortality. One of the first women of particular importance and influence to appear in the epic is Shamhat the harlot. Shamhat is initially introduced to the wild man Enkidu as a means to tame him, as “[her allure is a match] for even the mighty” (The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet I.141). This characterization of Shamhat, with a particular emphasis on the power of her allure and sexuality, puts forth the preliminary notion that the primary source of a woman’s power and influence stems from her sexuality. Moreover, Enkidu’s acceptance of…

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