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. Anu, a male, is the most powerful God. Furthermore, not only is Gilgamesh the king of Uruk, but he is also two-thirds divine, which gives him unparalleled power, at least in the human world. This is evident in the way he rules. "By day and by night his tyranny grows harsher... lets no daughter go free to her mother... lets no girl go free to her bridegroom." (George, I, 69-75).
Women, on the other hand, play many more roles than men in this classic. Take Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh, for example. She plays the role of the loving, caring mother and also that of the wise counselor that provides guidance. From the very beginning of the book, Gilgamesh seeks guidance from his mother. When he has two dreams about an axe and a meteor, full of concern, he seeks the advice of his mother. At this point, she plays the role of the guiding, comforting mother by analyzing his dreams and relating the two objects to something good, Enkidu, that will soon come into Gilgamesh's life. "My son, the axe you saw is a friend...and I, Ninsun, I shall make him your equal. A mighty comrade will come to you, and be his friend's saviour..." (George, I, 288-291).
After Enkidu and Gilgamesh become the best of fr...
... middle of paper ...
... 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.
It can easily be seen that while men were considered to be the most powerful and wisest humans and gods, women had the power to significantly influence these men. From Uta-napishti's wife who convinced Uta-napishti to tell Gilgamesh about the plant that would make him young again to the examples mentioned above, several women were put in roles that had important effects on the men they encountered. Of course, this is not much different from the society we live in today. While many may believe that women have still not reached the point of true equality, it is hard to say that they are inferior and the significance of their roles in society is undeniable.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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)
- Perspectives on gender roles throughout history majorly favor the male over the female; her abilities are underestimated by society thus her role is belittled and objectified. The ancient Mesopotamian epic, Gilgamesh, follows this norm of males being in the lead. However in truth, the women play a small but significant role as their drive. The females provide the wisdom and balance the main characters need to endure their journey. Men worship the opposite sex, relying on the power of their love to the point where they are ultimately exposed to a new way of life.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, Enkidu, Epic poetry]
1365 words (3.9 pages)
- Examining the nature of humanity and the reason for being has always been a topic of interest that transcends time, gender, age and culture. All literature in existence examines human nature or human interaction or interpretation with non-human things. The one thing we can know for certain is that life is not eternal: we all die. Despite this, each of us have a predisposition to survive and we go to extreme lengths to do so, such as by acquiring mass amounts of power in which to rule over other humans, ensuring a ruler’s survival.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Essays]
1048 words (3 pages)
- Before we read 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' we were learning about ancient civilizations. This book gives us a story to understand how people acted, who they looked up to, & what they believed in. 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' may not be an important text to read, but it's better then taking notes. By reading the story & doing a BBQ everyday is like the same thing. So 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' should be read in the ninth grade global history, since it fits so well with the curriculum. No matter what time period it is just about all civilizations have gender roles.... [tags: essays research papers]
589 words (1.7 pages)
- Changing Women's Roles in The Epic of Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Canterbury Tales Over the course of time, the roles of men and women have changed dramatically. As women have increasingly gained more social recognition, they have also earned more significant roles in society. This change is clearly reflected in many works of literature, one of the most representative of which is Plautus's 191 B.C. drama Pseudolus, in which we meet the prostitute Phoenicium. Although the motivation behind nearly every action in the play, she is glimpsed only briefly, never speaks directly, and earns little respect from the male characters surrounding her, a situation that roughly par... [tags: Comparison Comapre Contrast Essays]
1479 words (4.2 pages)
- It is clear that throughout the Western tradition men and women occupied different roles in different civilizations. Separate rights and privileges were awarded to either sex based upon the places that their cultures designated for them. Though every culture had those that would (often justifiably) upset the order of things by challenging conventional gender roles, ultimately, one was more likely to be confined by the limitations of what society said one could do. Religion in particular tended to codify the separate treatment of men and women; it could not be easily defied, because of the divine power behind it.... [tags: Sumer, Judea, Greek, Roman, Islam]
2210 words (6.3 pages)
- In ancient epics women played a critical role in developing the plot, shaping the actions, and understanding the male characters. However the only purpose of women in epics is to serve the roles of being devotees to men and not having a say in society. Epics allows us to get an understanding of how times were in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC, the roles women play in society, the purported traits they should possess, and their characters overall. For many, many years, even before mediums such as ancient epics, or any types of media even existed, the perspective on women has long been seen as putting the female a step below man.... [tags: Epic poetry, Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia, Woman]
887 words (2.5 pages)
- Now in our society, women are always involved in many important events or issues. As we can see on the news that there are many women joining global decision making conference, for example, Global Health Conference, The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, etc. Women can make decision and the representative for the country. Just like Michelle Obama, The First Lady of United State, she can follow Obama to nearly all of the business trip or conference trip. She can talk to the First Lady in that country or the resident of that city.... [tags: epic of gilgamesh, eneida, inferno, lysistrata]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Epic Poem of Gilgamesh In this paper, I seek to explore the identities and relationships between Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the epic poem of Gilgamesh, up through Enkidu’s death. I will explore the gender identity of each independently and then in relation to each other, and how their gender identity influences that relationship. I will also explore other aspects of their identity and how they came to their identities as well, through theories such as social conditioning.... [tags: Gilgamesh epic Poem Essays]
1974 words (5.6 pages)
- The Influence of Women in Epic of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh can be viewed as a writing that describes the social scene of the times it was written in. The characters of Enkidu and Gilgamesh are strong males. The roles of women in Gilgamesh are submissive and subtle. Women in this ancient Sumerian tale tend to be passive, but capable of influencing the outcome of events. Enkidu is a mighty force to confront. He is so strong that he is seen as a wild animal in his first appearances in the book. Gilgamesh is as strong or even stronger than Enkidu.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
578 words (1.7 pages)