Conflicts And Gender Roles In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh Primary Source Analysis
Many things can be learned about ancient civilizations from stories, tablets, laws, and other documents or artifacts discovered. In ancient Mesopotamia, a stone was discovered with the story of a king on the quest for eternal life. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest known piece of literature. From it, we learn many things about ancient Mesopotamia including about their religion, beliefs, gender roles, and many more.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the main character, Gilgamesh who is the king of Uruk oppresses his people thus forcing them to pray to the god, Anu, for help. Anu replies by sending a wild man named Enkidu and sending him to control Gilgamesh’s cruel ways. Once Enkidu arrived, he tries to
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First, there was a strong male leader, Gilgamesh, which is the first sign of male dominance. Women were looked down on in this epic but they were also respected and played an important role. For example, when Shamhat was sent to tame Enkidu, this demonstrates the effect women have on men. The epic says, “Arouse him in rapture, the work of woman” (Pg. 8). This explains the influence Shamhat had on Enkidu, she drew him in and changed his ways. The downside of this however is how women were looked at as if they were only used for their body. Another positive role of women in the epic is when Utnapishtim’s wife helped Gilgamesh. She convinced her husband to reveal the other option for eternal life to Gilgamesh. Another positive influence of women in this epic is when Aruru created Enkidu. The epic says, Aruru washed her hands, she pinched up some clay and spat on it. She moulded Engidu” (Page 7). This represents how woman are the only ones who can create life and bring life to earth. The role of women 4000 years ago was very similar to the role of women just 100 years ago. No rights, looked down on, and not meant to overpower men. Today, women have more rights, yet they are still not equal to men. But women still have more power than they ever have. Women played many roles in this epic, positive and …show more content…
However that is not the only thing the story tells. Within the story lies facts, and clues to what life was like 4000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. The epic reveals many things about ancient Mesopotamia. We learn about the importance of gods to the people of ancient Mesopotamia, and how they believed that the gods controlled everything including their destiny. The epic also revealed gender roles and the roles of women, good and bad. The similarity of the religion in the epic to Christianity and stories of the bible were revealed as well. One can learn so much about a place by the artifacts dug up from it. Without these precious artifacts, there would be a multitude of unanswered questions about the past. The Epic of Gilgamesh is only one example of a story that tells more than it’s written

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