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Shamhat and Siduri Essay

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Shamhat was the priestess of Ishtar, the great goddess of love and war. She was hired by Gilgamesh to tame Enkidu as Enkidu was not civilized in any way and had come to be Gilgamesh's soul brother and companion. Shamhat was a hierodule and was asked to seduce Enkidu and use her charming ways to make a man out of Enkidu, the animal like. Shamhat, being a hierodule, is a woman dedicated to Priesthood and God. Hence, she would only deal with the godly. She was allocated the task of making Enkidu aware of the human nature and lifestyle, which was different from the animal world that he was coming from. Shamhat had tactically and implicitly understood the path that she would have to take towards the betterment of Enkidu. She revealed to him what is woman is. She showed Enkidu the caring and sharing that a woman portrays and brings into the world. She brings to his notice the origin of life and love. Shamhat allowed him to make love to her for six days and seven nights and burned within him a human (male) desire. She gave him the feeling of satiety. Shamhat did all this for none of her

She takes Enkidu beyond the horizons of life that he had before that time. She made him a full man. Her selfless attitude towards her job made it something different than a job. She did everything for him without any motive but Enkidu's betterment. Shamhat portrays an undoubtingly selfless and a loving character. She acts as an inspiration for Enkidu and helps him begin his journey of life with humans in his own way and by making his own choices. She introduces Enkidu with his identity and makes him feel important.

Enkidu learns a lot from Shamhat. The impact of those few days with Shamhat was very vast and it, virtually, made him a human being fr...


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... human emotions and affections. Siduri and Shamhat are alike in their selfless behavior and no vested interest for their personal gains. Siduri was unsuccessful though in trying to bring the awareness of love and affection and an enlightenment of life within him. She was unable to be successful and make a man out of the beast like Gilgamesh. Shamhat, the prostitute, turned out to be the pathfinder of life for Enkidu. She made a man out of him, not for herself but for Enkidu. Siduri, in a tacit manner, being an ordinary seaside girl, drew Gilgamesh towards a better understanding of human life and emotions. Both Shamhat and Siduri graciously disappeared from Enkidu's and Gilgamesh's life easily, the only difference being that Shamhat could make a man out of Enkidu but Siduri's attempts did not bear fruit as she could not change the basic outlook of life for Gilgamesh.


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