Women of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey Essay

1016 WordsJul 31, 20135 Pages
Amanda Stubbins-Helms July 23, 2013 GPS 210: Critical Essay The Roles of Women in Gilgamesh and The Odyssey Although men are the Epic characters of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey, women also play a very important role in both stories. In general, these two stories portray women as being overly sexual, deceptive, and having a power over men. Women use their sexuality to hold control over men, to confuse and deceive them. One example of a female character using her sexuality to control a male character is Shamhat in her relations with Enkidu in Tablet I of Gilgamesh. Shamhat is a harlot sent from Uruk by Gilgamesh to assist a hunter to stop Endiku from keeping the animals from the hunter. Shamhat goes to the forest with the hunter and…show more content…
Because of Athena, Odysseus shall sail “home to his native country unharmed” (Book V, line 30). At this, Zeus sends Hermes to tell Calypso she is to let Odysseus go, and allow him to return home. The nymph, Calypso, is a prime example of the use of sexuality by women in this story. Calypso has Odysseus held captive on her island, and attempts to make him stay there and become immortal, to be her mate. Calypso is looked upon negatively by the gods for having slept with a mortal man, but Calypso wishes for Odysseus to be made immortal by the gods and to stay with her on the island, as was done for Dawn. Calypso is a nymph, described as lustrous and queenly. Since she has kept him captive, Odysseus won’t believe her at first when she tells him he is being let go to journey home. She has kept him on her island, and in her bed, and kept him from the wife he loves. And even before he leaves the island, she makes him sleep with her one last time. Penelope is a mortal woman, the wife of Odysseus. In speaking with Calypso, Odysseus describes Penelope: “Look at my wise Penelope. She falls far short of you, your beauty, stature. She is mortal after all and you, you never age or die…Nevertheless I long-I pine, all my days-to travel home and see the dawn of my return” (Book V, lines 239-243). Odysseus is aware of all that a goddess could offer
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