Women in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Mesopotamian Society Essay

2013 Words Apr 2nd, 2012 9 Pages
Bethany TowneWritten Assignment 1Western Civ 1Women In The Epic Of Gilgamesh and Mesopotamian Society
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, gender plays a very significant role, because while women were not the most powerful gods nor the strongest or wisest of all humans, they still had tremendous influence over others around them, and even today, over those who study and learn about the women of the time of Mesopotamia. Though the main characters of the story, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, are male, women did not necessarily play a minor role. One particular issue that is demonstrated among several others in the Epic of Gilgamesh is the status of women. Since this is a story of women's status many years ago, it is indeed an interesting issue to discuss,
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"You loved the speckled allallu-bird, but struck him down and broke his wing...you loved the horse, so famed in battle, but you made his destiny whip, spur and lash.". Rejected and angered, Ishtar exercises her divine power and has her father send the Bull of Heaven against Gilgamesh and Enkidu. While the two conquer this opposition, this display of power ultimately has the most significant effect on Gilgamesh's life. The Gods decide that Enkidu, Gilgamesh's best friend and brother, must die for this act. Clearly, Ishtar's role in the Epic of Gilgamesh was a very powerful one in which she manipulated both men and gods to get what she wanted, in one way or another. In "Ishtar", the feelings of hate, love, rejection and punishment come to the surface as to show that killing was not for all to do and that is permissible to a king two-thirds god and not to anyone such as Enkidu. Ishtar, the goddess, is a powerful woman as if to recognize the power of women as they give life to men through their love as well as their ability to destroy men. The Epic Of Gilgamesh presents many good examples of women and their status in Mesopotamia as well as the story itself. One last example of the importance of women along with their status is observed when Gilgamesh is in search of immortality; when he fears that death will sneak upon him some day. It is through the involvement of women in his quest that he presses on in his search. This is seen when he meets the woman of

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