Mortal women Versus Immortal women
The background of Iliad and Gilgamesh was in ancient world, Men in ancient world had the dominant role in public life. Men engaged in public and political events and warfare. They were major labor force in society. While women in ancient world was told to stay home and service her family. Women are largely symbolic in Homer work. Women in ancient was weak and has no identity. The life of mortal women was totally manipulated by men. However, even though mortal women were powerless, in fact, women led men destiny and played a central role in many cases because women can satisfy men most need. Compare to mortal women, immortal women, goddess in ancient world, were perfect and unique. They had enough absolute power, beauty and wisdom to fool or manipulated mortal life. Nonetheless, both goddess and mortal women had mentally similarities. Like mortal women, immortal women were jealous, sensitive, emotional and angry when people judge their beauty. They both had motherhood.
In many poetry, mortal women was not major character. But many theme were relevant to women because women can fully satisfy men physical and mental need. First, women satisfy men’s sexual desire. In Gilgamesh, Enkidu was a wild men like a beast before he slept with women. Shamhat, a prostitute only show up once in the epic, used her sexuality to teach Enkidu women art and train Enkidu to be a normal human. “After six days and seven nights they lay together, Enkidu had forgotten him home in hill…. and now the wild creature had fled away. Enkidu was grown weak, for wisdom was in him, and the thoughts of a man were in his heart.” (Gilgamesh, part 1, 14) Because of Shamhat, Enkidu became norm and became friend of Gilgamesh and start rest of epic. Secondly, women satisfy men’s vanity. From ancient world to now, men always judge women by their beauty. Whole Trojan War was caused by Helen the most beautiful woman in the ancient world. Even though Helen was not a main character in Homer Iliad, she trigged and relevant the story of Iliad. In additionally, women was an asset and trophy of men. Women value was credit by their beauty. In Homer’s Iliad, Both Chryses and Briseis had no identity and was extras in the epic Iliad. However, they caused the story of glory of Achilles. Agamemnon took Chryses, who was a daughter of priest of Apollo in a Trojan-allied town, as a war price. As a result, Greek army was suffered a plague from Apollo as a punishment. Hence, Agamemnon had to return Chryses to the priest but he appropriated Briseis, a trophy of Achilles, as compensation. Achilles was so angry about his price was token and his honor was deceived. He shout “So at least Olympian Zeus, thundering up on high should give me honor- but now he gives me nothing, Atreus’s son Agamemnon, for all his far-flung kingdoms – the man disgraces me, seizes and keeps my prize, he tears her away himself!” (The Iliad, book 1, 366, Homer) Achilles left Greek’s army. In consequence, Trojan was in upper hand in the war until Achilles came back to Greek’s army. Last not least, women can guild men by their wisdom. In Gilgamesh, Utanapishtim's wife has a small role in the epic, but it's an important one. Her wisdom resolved conflict between Utanapishtim and Gilgamesh. She bake a loaf of bread for every day when Gilgamesh is conked out. In this way, when he wakes up, there would be proof that he really was asleep for that long in order to prevent argument with Gilgamesh. Although, mortal women were powerless in ancient world, in fact, they could direct men destiny because their sexuality, beauty and wisdom fulfill most men need.
In contrast to mortal women, immortal women, goddess, was very powerful creature in ancient world. In both Iliad and Gilgamesh, there were lot of scenes that displayed mortal men was manipulate or guided by goddess. Athena transformed to be Paris in order to fool Hector to fight against Achilles.