Theme Of Sexuality In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Sexuality is not new; in fact, it is possibly the oldest existing occurrences in human history. It even goes back to the days of Gilgamesh and, though not given labels and limitations, it definitely has an important presence in the Epic of Gilgamesh, written by Anonymous. Yes, it is important. Three of the major game-changing events in The Epic of Gilgamesh involve sex, or the refusal of it. One involves using the act of sex to civilize. Another one involves rejecting sexual advances and how that can result in a big mistake. The last involves the soul ties one can conclude after sex. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the journey of Gilgamesh as he works to obtain immortality. Although Gilgamesh never achieves immortality, the women of the text play…show more content…
A little background history: in Sumerian civilization, there is no morality linked with sexuality; it is practically an honor to be a prostitute. This is because the literary works were pre-Biblically written. All in all, sexuality is just sexuality and everyone has the same amount of freedom, sexually. Greeks could be married and have relations with other women and men because there were no such things as heterosexuality or homosexuality. The literary work, “When Heroes Love: The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David” by Susan Ackerman details all the possible erotic allusions to Enkidu and Gilgamesh’s relationship through the wordplays in the meteor and axe dream accounts; the frequent designation of Gilgamesh and Enkidu as “brothers”; the sexual nature of the wrestling account; Gilgamesh’s odd rejection of Ishtar’s advances; the deathbed scene in which Enkidu is compared to a bride; and, finally, Gilgamesh’s lament over his dead friend. For Ackerman, based on these events, “the presence of homoerotic overtones in some of the Epic’s descriptions ... seems indisputable” (Nissinen 307). In “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, what starts as a rivalry ends in friendship, companionship, and love. The reader remembers that Enkidu and Gilgamesh first meet as enemies and they “wrestle” with each other, sexually. It is during this battle that Gilgamesh encounters his first life changing events and comes to understand that his thoughts about women and life in general could be wrong. He learns from Enkidu and Enkidu learns from him and becomes more acclimated to being civilized through his relationship with Gilgamesh. With that sexual connection comes the unbreakable soul tie between Enkidu and Gilgamesh. They go through life and show loyalty through the ups and downs of their journey. When the gods decide to punish Enkidu with death because
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