The Importance Of Masculinity In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Greek and Mesopotamia visualized masculinity through male’s domination over the inferior group and their involvement in sexual relationships not only with women, but also with other men (Wiesner, p. 18). In Heracles by Apollodorus, Heracles uses his strength and exceeding skills to prove his superiority. Likewise, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh uses his position of power as a king and his exceeding physical strength to dominate through fear the citizens of Uruk. Both Gilgamesh and Heracles use their superiority to dominate over the subordinate groups.
Heracles is someone with exceeding skills, strength and power. In ancient Greek and Mesopotamia, masculinity was determined through a male’s strength and his ability to dominate others,
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As a result, he tricked Heracles into sleeping with all of his fifty daughters so that they may all have children from him. To Mesopotamian and Greek deities sexual relations were viewed as masculine (Wiesner, p. 114). Therefore, Heracles’ sexual relationship with these fifty women in ancient Greek and Mesopotamia were greatly embraced as a sign of masculinity. All the same, Heracles proofs his masculinity through his ability to engage in sexual relationship with all the fifty daughters of king Thespius.
As already mentioned, Heracles possess many skills, passed on to him by his teachers, the best in the field, all of whom he exceeds. As the son of Zeus, Heracles exhibits amazing physical strength. However, his wrathful temperament leads him to become a murderer of innocent people. Heracles’ wrathful temperament is identified as a positive thing in ancient Greek and Mesopotamia. Masculinity had to be shown through a man toughness in order for him to be perceived as strong and not weak. A man could never be weak, or serene since these qualities are an attribution of femininity. In a “Patriarchal Greek city state like Sparta, men had to endure a very hard military discipline” (Wiesner, p. 31). This illustrates that men were not allowed to show any signs of weakness or else they lost their
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For this reason Shamhat, the prostitute is used to humanize and educate Enkidu. “Women were not seen as part of the coherent group and often supported the institution and intellectual structures that subordinated them” (Wiesner, p. 18). This shows men as the strongest and most positive element and the female as the weaker and negative element in ancient Greek and Mesopotamia (Wiesner, p. 17). Shamhat shows her feminine and thus weaker character when she cedes to give her body away to Enkidu. Once again, in ancient Mesopotamia a man’s masculinity is also portray through his ability to engage in sexual acts, thus upon engaging in sexual relations with Shamhat, Enkidu accomplishes to demonstrate his masculinity conferring to Greek and Mesopotamian views. Nevertheless, at the end of the story Gilgamesh and Enkidu have a special friendship relationship where they kiss (Gilgamesh, p. 16); yet, it’s culminate when Enkidu dies. At this point, Gilgamesh express his profound love for his dead friend. This act of love between Gilgamesh and Enkidu demonstrates the masculine relationship between the strongest men in Uruk (Gilgamesh, p. 75).
Conversely, both Heracles and Gilgamesh differ significantly. In spite of the fear that Gilgamesh produces upon his people, Gilgamesh’s masculinity is highly praised and loved by the

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