Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Gender Inequality In Gilgamesh Essay - 1339 Words

Throughout history, there has always been a gender inequality separating the roles and power of men from women. Most societies were patriarchal, emphasizing male dominance in society and directing women towards a more idle role so that they were more ornamental than influential. Through this gender division, women would take on the less powerful role as a nurturing mother, or caring wife over and over again in several ancient societies up to modern day societies. In Gilgamesh, male characters are emphasized much more than female characters, however, the female characters are crucial in the epic as they help to drive the plot forward through their actions. Despite the constant presence of gender roles throughout history, the women of†¦show more content†¦When it snorted a third time, the earth cracked open and Enkidu fell in, up to his waist, he jumped out and grabbed the Bull’s horns, it spat its slobber into his face, it lifted its tail and spewed dung all over himâ €  (Mitchell 137). The mass destruction caused by Ishtar demonstrates that her power is greater than the warriors’ and equal or greater than that of one of the strongest men of the story. Using the Bull of Heaven, Ishtar nearly defeats Enkidu, who is the equal of Gilgamesh, both described as large and strong men, a phallic symbol of power. Although Ishtar does not kill Gilgamesh with the Bull of Heaven, Enkidu is spat on and covered in dung, which is very humiliating, and as Gilgamesh’s equal, this action is equivalent to humiliating Gilgamesh. For a woman to humiliate the greatest phallic symbols in the epic demonstrates that the women of â€Å"Gilgamesh† are not the weaker gender. Not only is Ishtar’s revenge a display of her power, but it also demonstrates the diverse role of women in the epic, as she does not act as a stereotypical caring wife or mother. Ishtar acts as a mighty adversary to Gilgamesh, directing Gilgamesh to his quest as the death of the Bull of Heaven prompts the gods towards deciding Enkidu’s death; this death results in Gilgamesh’s quest for eternal life. Since the death of Enkidu is what causes Gilgamesh to go on his quest for immortality, Ishtar is the catalyst that causes the quest to

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