Essay on Problem of Woman in Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible

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The Problem of Woman in Gilgamesh and Genesis

The snake hands Eve the apple, and with a twinkle in her eye she bites  into the apple, gaining the elusive knowledge the serpent  has promised. With shame deep in her heart, Eve smiling offers the precious fruit to Adam, her mate. The prostitute lures Enkidu, protector of nature, into her arms with the fruits of her womanhood. She offers him sexual satisfaction. He like Adam is an innocent taken in by the wiles of a woman. Why do the women tempt the innocents? Are these conquests for victory over man, or is their temptation their way of making sure that they will not "die" alone? "The Epic of Gilgamesh" (pp. 15-16) and Genesis (Chapter 3) tell of the enlightenment and presents the inevitability of the deaths Enkidu and of Adam.

The serpent turns toward Eve and speaks, "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."  Transfixed by the revelation of all of the benefits of eating from the tree, Eve takes fruit from the tree, eats of it, and gives it to her husband who takes it and eats the fruit.  The prostitute likewise steps into the wilderness where Enkidu lives; he is a creature innocent of the world where man dwells. The prostitute, sent by Gilgamesh sits by the drinking-hole waiting for the arrival of Enkidu. When he appears, she strips her body and welcomes his eagerness. There she teaches him her woman's art. Both the prostitute and Eve represent all of womankind.

The men take what is given to them by the women and do not question the right or wrong of their actions. They live only for the immediate pleasure gained form their actions. After the first taste ...

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... day. Thus we shape the lives of others, and those we touch shape other lives, leaving a never-ending effect on the world.

The "Epic of Gilgamesh," is told by mouth up until the time the author recorded it on paper. His original purpose of recording the story is to keep the characters immortal. The book of Genesis is recorded by a Hebrew from the telling of God to immortalize a religion whereas "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is told in words to immortalize a hero. The story is told with pride and bravado. The Hebrew  writer of  Genesis uses an old formal tone to tell the story of Adam and Eve to remind the reader that it is history and man's origin. Both Enkidu and Adam fail to live forever in body. Yet, they forever are remembered by their roles in shaping the lives of other men.

Works Cited:

Sandars, N. K., trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin, 1972

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