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Female Characters Gilgamesh

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Make a list of all of the female characters in Gilgamesh. Write a brief description of each and what she does in the story. Can you get any general ideas about the roles of women in ancient Sumeria from this? Explain, using specific examples from the story. 1. Enkidu - Companion and friend of Gilgamesh. Hairy-bodied and brawny, Enkidu was raised by animals. Even after he joins the civilized world, he retains many of his undomesticated characteristics. Enkidu looks much like Gilgamesh and is almost his physical equal. He aspires to be Gilgamesh’s rival but instead becomes his soul mate. The gods punish Gilgamesh and Enkidu by giving Enkidu a slow, painful, inglorious death for killing the demon Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. 2. Shamhat - The temple prostitute who tames Enkidu by seducing him away from his natural state. Though Shamhat’s power comes from her sexuality, it is associated with civilization rather than nature. She represents the sensuous refinements of culture—the sophisticated pleasures of lovemaking, food, alcohol, music, clothing, architecture, agriculture, herding, and ritual. 3. Utnapishtim’s Wife - An unnamed woman who plays an important role in the story. Utnapishtim’s wife softens her husband toward Gilgamesh, persuading him to disclose the secret of the magic plant called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man. 4. Aruru - A goddess of creation who fashioned Enkidu from clay and her spittle. 5. Siduri - The goddess of wine-making and brewing. Siduri is the veiled tavern keeper who comforts Gilgamesh and who, though she knows his quest is futile, helps him on his way to Utnapishtim. 6. Ereshkigal - Terrifying queen of the underworld. 7. Ishtar - The goddess of love and fertility, as well as the goddess of war. Ishtar is frequently called the Queen of Heaven. Capricious and mercurial, sometimes she is a nurturing mother figure, and other times she is spiteful and cruel. She is the patroness of Uruk, where she has a temple. 8. Ninsun - The mother of Gilgamesh, also called the Lady Wildcow Ninsun. She is a minor goddess, noted for her wisdom. Her husband is Lugulbanda.…...

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