Theme Of Gender Roles In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Men have been noted as the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. Over the course of history the classification of gender roles has been discussed, debated and written among countless scholars and philosophers. Women specifically, over the past few centuries have been oppressed and neglected due to the gender stereotypes that have governed society. However, in the ancient Mesopotamian epic known as The Epic of Gilgamesh there is the emergence of female characters that depict having equal power to the male species and in some instances more power, even though they are written as minor roles. The women in this epic, which include Shamat, the temple prostitute, Ishtar, the wife of Utnapishtim, Aruru, and Shiduri, the goddess of wine, shed…show more content…
The shepherd sought refuge from the harlot of “the temple of love” who is named Shamat. The temptress is not a goddess but works under a well known temple who is guarded over by a goddess. When the young shepherd finds Shamat he tells her, “teach him, the savage man, yours woman art” (The Epic of Gilgamesh, pg.) The harlot does just that and she teached Enkidu the art of women for six days and seven nights, after which the wild creatures fled from him: “And now the wild creatures had all fled away; Enkidu was grown weak, for wisdom was in him, and the thoughts of a man were in his heart” (The Epic of Gilgamesh, pg. ). Her power and art which is so sensual has ostracized him from his wild companions, and leads him back to the temptress Shamat. Accepting him she convinces him to venture into civilization with her. This leads to her clothing him and shaving him, with that, “holding his hand she led him like a child to the sheepfolds” (The Epic of Gilgamesh, pg.). Shamat appears as both the tender lover and a tender caretaker. This not only reveals how women led civilizations into progression, but how their sensititivtyand sexuality contained immense power of men. The art of women was highly aware to men in its ability to transform even the wildest of men. A woman's power is quite
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