Women in Uruk and Greece: Wives, Noble, Whores, or Evil? Essay

Women in Uruk and Greece: Wives, Noble, Whores, or Evil? Essay

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Throughout studies of ancient civilizations Woman's place seems to be similar, but through a large spectrum of roles; as in the tales of Medea and Gilgamesh. Both tales tell their own views on Women, but also show each woman in their best and worst: The common, the priestess, the harlot, the wise, or just an evil witch. By analyzing and contrasting each woman one can see the view of women in ancient societies through the way stories detail them and their defining actions.
During each of the tales, there is only one example of the common woman. Common women seem to be resigned to their fates, having similar morals and making no real effort to change the way they live. Also, they do not act upon their words, but act more as common sense.
Gilgamesh simply shows the common girl's contentment by viewing them on their wedding day, when Gilgamesh is given the bride's virginity before the groom. “The Bride was ready for Gilgamesh as though for a god, she was waiting in her bed... to forget her husband and open to the king” (Mitchell, 89).
In Medea we have the Women of Corinth; more complicated women who act only as the Chorus and have little power to alter plot. They flock around Medea, pleading and sympathizing with her. They stay inactive and only speak with emotions and ideals fitting superficial levels of their status as women and wives. At the beginning, when Medea was only a wronged woman, they chastise Jason (as it would be proper to do if a man committed adultery): “Still I think... You have betrayed your wife and are acting badly.” (Euripides, 19). However, later in the play, when Medea discloses her plan to kill her children they simply plead with her: “I both wish to help you and support the normal Ways of ma...


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...e Gods at them: The Bull of Heaven. Her rash behavior caused the bull to descend to the Earth and cause hundreds of deaths and years of famine; all because Gilgamesh told her the truth of her philandering. She even caused the death of Enkidu, since the two friends slew the Bull as it attacked. These deaths were the result of her own vain actions and lust.
Even though the sexual aspects of a woman are one of the more influential, there are always the main examples of woman kind; usually pertaining to their roles as mothers. In both of these stories we have the extremes of women the mother. There is the wise and caring mother, Ninsun. Then there is the evil, Medea herself.

Works Cited
Mitchell, Stepehn, trans. Gilgamesh a new English version. New York: Free, 2004. Print.

Euripides. Medea. Trans. Rex Warner. London: Bodley Head Limited, 1944. Print.

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