Preview
Preview

The Role of Women in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay

:: 6 Works Cited
Length: 1123 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What if women ruled the world? The question does not seem so strange today as it may have back in 2500 B.C.E., an age when people tell stories of the Great King of Uruk--Gilgamesh. Although the story of “Gilgamesh” revolves around themes of masculinity and brotherhood--with its male prerogative, its composers develop several strong female characters which suggest women have great influence in a male-dominated, Mesopotamian society.
The first female character that influences a man is the prostitute. She is left at the spring by the hunter so that she can sleep with Enkidu and make the other animals abandon him. According to the tale, Enkidu acts like an animal. Nonetheless he is drawn to the prostitute. She is wise and knows the nature of man. She tells Enkidu he is no longer an animal, he is like a god, like Gilgemesh. She uses her influence to get him to go to Uruk. One could say the prostitute plays a maternal role. She clothes him, with her robe and takes him to a house where he is taught how to live like a human being. After she teaches him all he needs to know, she sends him to Uruk to confront Gilgamesh. She does not lead him, she follows behind him signifying his readiness to be a man. The prostitute is an independent person. Besides being led to the spring where Enkidu rests, she does not have to be told what to do or how to influence him. She has her own agenda and successfully accomplishes her mission.
Ninsun is the next woman to use her influence over the men in the story. She is the mother of Gilgamesh, and a minor goddess. She is the only person with whom Gilgamesh shares his thoughts. Ninsun interprets her son’s dreams. He puts all if not most of his trust in her. She is the calming influence when he is e...


... middle of paper ...


...Press, 1986. 143-187. PDF file.
---. “The Development and Meaning of the Epic of Gilgamesh: An Interpretive Essay.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 121.4 (2001): 614-622. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb 2014.
Harris, Rivkah. “Images of Women in the Gilgamesh Epic.” Gilgamesh: A Reader. Ed. John R. Maier. Wauconda: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1997. 79-94. Google Play Reader.
Karahashi, Fumi and Carolina Lopez-Ruiz. “Love Rejected: Some Notes on the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Greek Myth of Hippolytus.” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 58 (2006): 97-107. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb 2014.
Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. Print.
Young-Mason, Jeanine. “Understanding Suffering and Compassion.” Cross Currents: Journal of the Association of Religion and Intellectual Life 51.3 (2001): 347-358. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb 2014.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Role of Women in The Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - The story starts off with Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, who is one third man and two thirds god. This story is about a man's quest for immortality in addition to the importance of boundaries between the realms of animal, man and gods. Women symbolize the importance of locative boundaries in the text. These boundaries are set by the harlot Shamhat, Ishtar, Siduri, the tavern keeper, Ninsun and Utanapishtim's wife. By giving women this role of wisdom and boundary enforcement, The Epic of Gilgamesh reflects how Mesopotamian society actually valued women....   [tags: Foster, Literary Analysis] 796 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Role of Women in The Epic of Gilgamesh - About 2700 years ago there lived a king by the name of Gilgamesh who ruled the city of Uruk in Mesopotamia now known to us as modern day Iraq. Parts of his life are written on clay tablets believed to be the oldest existing written story of a man’s life. (XI). “The epic of Gilgamesh”, is the story of his quest for eternal life. In this paper I will be writing about the influence that the women in his life have played in his quest. The women are, Shamhat, Ninsun, Ishtar, and, “The tavern keeper”....   [tags: Analytical Essay, Literary Analysis] 957 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Role of Women in the Epic of Gilgamesh - The Role of the Women in the Epic of Gilgamesh Stories reflect and mirror culture. Some writers write about how things currently are in their own society and the position that certain people hold in that society. It is because of that kind of thought and style of writing that a reader can learn and in some ways better understand the hierarchical position of peoples in a society at a particular time in history. In ancient Mesopotamia, women had fewer privileges and rights then the men. Despite their lack of rights and privileges, women in high position were viewed as temptresses, tamers, and a essential part of Mesopotamian culture....   [tags: Ancient History] 448 words
(1.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Role of Women Essay - Powerful. Yet full of temptation. The women in the Epic of Gilgamesh were powerful because of the knowledge they had. They might not have ruled in Mesopotamia, but they knew their place and they knew their knowledge was useful to others. Throughout this epic, there are women who get power from their body and ability to seduce men, women who are goddesses and have the right connections, and women who are merely just house wives with essential information given at the right moments. Even though the role of women in Ancient Mesopotamia society is lesser then the role of men, the response from women is more powerful and wise....   [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, power, wisdom, love]
:: 1 Works Cited
1003 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Women´s Role in Litetraute Essay - ... Such negative images are firstly show in mortal women. In the first scene, there is an example of irrational women. In this poem, Troy was burned and attacked at the beginning; Aeneas saw Penelope and the opportunity to kill Penelope. She chose to escape from responsibilities and obligations, also leave Greece because of Troy. This resulted in the entire war between Greeks and Troy. He did not eventually killed her, more important is this introduces the theme of irrational and women through the story....   [tags: epic of gilgamesh, eneida, inferno, lysistrata] 1093 words
(3.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Role of Sex in The Epic of Gilgamesh - In "The Epic of Gilgamesh" it seem like the women have all the power. The women have great influences on the men. In "Gilgamesh" sex plays an important role, and it also seems that sex has a hold on Gilgamesh and also Enkidu - not just a hold on them, but more of an addiction throughout the story of Gilgamesh. In the beginning of the story, Gilgamesh has a great lust that leaves "no virgin to her lover, neither the warrior's daughter nor the wife of noble men. To me, the lust in Gilgamesh's heart makes him a very selfish person....   [tags: The Epic of Gilgamesh] 812 words
(2.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Imagery and Themes in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - Historical Context - Imagery and Themes Rosenberg notes that Gilgamesh is probably the world's first human hero in literature (27). The Epic of Gilgamesh is based on the life of a probably real Sumerian king named Gilgamesh, who ruled about 2600 B.C.E. We learned of the Gilgamesh myth when several clay tablets written in cuneiform were discovered beginning in 1845 during the excavation of Nineveh (26). We get our most complete version of Gilgamesh from the hands of an Akkadian priest, Sin-liqui-unninni....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays] 1133 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Epic of Gilgamesh Analysis Essay - The Epic of Gilgamesh is an fascinating mesopotamian epic that dates back to ancient years. The story focuses on a King by the name of Gilgamesh King of Uruk, two thirds god and one third man. Gilgamesh does not fulfill his leadership expectations, he comes off as an arrogant , ignorant man who is full of himself. He rapes any woman his heart desires. This leads to the gods becoming infuriated with him. The gods are represented as these hard to please inferior beings. Seeking revenge the gods send down Enkidu who was initially imposed to keep Gilgamesh in check....   [tags: gilgamesh, mesopotamia, babylonia] 608 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Gender Roles in the Epic of Gilgamesh Essay - Gender Roles in the Epic of Gilgamesh In the Epic of Gilgamesh, gender plays a very significant role. While women were not the most powerful gods nor the strongest or wisest of humans, they still had tremendous influence. Though the main characters of the story, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, are male, women did not play a necessarily minor role. With all the women that play a role in the Epic of Gilgamesh, gender is a topic worthy of discussion. The obvious role of men in the Epic of Gilgamesh is that of the position of power....   [tags: World Literature] 668 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Gilgamesh's Heroism Essay - A hero is someone who tries the best to help everyone and will do everything in his or her power to help out another person. The term hero means different things to different people. Today many people believe that a hero is a person who can accomplish what others can not or a person who puts themselves on the line for the other people. Men, women and children can all be heroes if they truly feel in their hearts the need to help others in even the smallest ways. In our modern world heroes are defined in so many ways....   [tags: World Literature Epic of Gilgamesh] 1553 words
(4.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]