In the time of The Epic of Gilgamesh, around 2000 BC, women were not respected, or acknowledged for things other than pleasure, household issues, or things which men were too lazy to accomplish. This issue was presented many times throughout the novel as some men tended to be rash and stubborn, only following their own desires. Gilgamesh, being a young king, was very rash in his decisions and indeed followed what he desired. Had the King ever decided to listen to words of wisdom from a woman, rather than pushing them aside to pursue what he wanted; he would have saved himself from wasted time and a failed journey.
Women with power are often more respected than those which did not have power as they possibly had some sort of influence; Shamhat, a priestess is very wise and somewhat respected within Uruk. Although sent to seduce Enkidu she domesticates him and teaches him to be a civilized man. He ends up listening to her and “came back and sat at the feet of the harlot,/ watching the harlot, observing her features./ Then to the harlot’s words he listened intently,/ [as Shamhat] talked to him, to Enkidu” (I 203-206). Women often offered the voice of reason and were respected in the sense of when the men needed advice or counseling or rather when they were willing to accept it. This is present in the epic when Gilgamesh is pursuing immortality but Shiduri encourages him to go home and live a happy, full life rather than wasting his time. Gilgamesh was so set on seeking immortality; he refused to take the advice of the woman. These women often play a large role forming the men into that which they ought to be. Throughout The Epic of Gilgamesh there is a common theme of the men being foolish and rash while the women are always there...
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... child” as quoted was most likely a girl, as the men were left to carry on the bloodline. The girls had no use as they would just need to be married off, they could never carry on the King’s rule.
Throughout The Epic of Gilgamesh there is a common them of women being very wise and helping the men. Although offered countless words of wisdom, men would tend to only act accordingly if they desired to such as Enkidu, or if they learned from a lesson and realized the advice given had indeed been helpful. Even though women were disrespected in this way, they often continued to offer up wisdom. Though men often ignored a woman’s opinion, some would decide to listen as Enkidu had, but others could be rash and stubborn. These situations were often quite humorous as the men could have saved themselves much trouble if they had listened to the women in the first place.
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