24 September 2012
Proposal: Talk Dirty to Me
The Epic of Gilgamesh has many intriguing events that can be explored by analyzing the writing provided. Reading between the lines is the key tool to understanding the context of the poem. Each new stanza, whether it be repetitive or a fresh thought, comes at you with a new angle of explanation. If a thought or statement was unclear, as you continue to read, you are sure to catch the meaning in a different explanation further on in the poem. I was most interested in the emphasis the author puts on the importance of the sexual encounters in Gilgamesh’s journey as king, as well as Enkidu’s experiences with the women in these stories.
“I was invited to a wedding banquet, it is the lot of the people to contract a marriage”
-This quote from the poem leads me to believe that the people of this heritage, era and setting, believe a marriage to be a form of a contract. Especially when Gilgamesh has an encounter with Lady Ishtar, she then says, “Come, Gilgamesh, be you my bridegroom!” she want to husband him and contract in a marriage.
Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s dear friend, has a connection with Shamhat, the harlot. Once Shamhat understands that Enkidu is on a journey into the forests she appears as a motherly figure to him and begins to teach him all that she knows of his journey. “Come, Shamhat, take me along to the sacred temple, holy name of Anu and Ishtar…” as Enkidu requests help and guidance from Shamhat. However, Shamhat was first engaged with Gilgamesh, therefore Enkidu realizes Shamhat is not devote to helping him as she explains to him that she feels Gilgamesh is wiser and stronger than him, Enkidu then wants to challenge Gilgamesh to prove himself to the harlot. The encounters with women in this poem play a large part in determining whom the men become and what they decide to fight for.
Gilgamesh wants to be the most powerful king and man in the nation. His way of displaying his power is by his sexual and erotic tendencies with all of the brides to be. The women in this story have no choice but to succumb to his desires to defile them. Enkidu was brought from the forest because the hunter was afraid of his beastly appearance and he used a woman, Shamhat, to lure him out. She makes it her duty to turn him from beast to man, and to do that she unleashes his humanly sexual desires.
Enkidu has no become more of man than he has been in…