Women in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Mesopotamian Society
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, gender plays a very significant role, because while women were not the most powerful gods nor the strongest or wisest of all humans, they still had tremendous influence over others around them, and even today, over those who study and learn about the women of the time of Mesopotamia. Though the main characters of the story, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, are male, women did not necessarily play a minor role. One particular issue that is demonstrated among several others in the Epic of Gilgamesh is the status of women. Since this is a story of women's status many years ago, it is indeed an interesting issue to discuss, particularly today, since women still struggle for equal rights in every place and everything they do. It is interesting to learn about the history of women’s status in societies, such as the Mesopotamian society.
Throughout The Epic Of Gilgamesh, the roles of women are mixed. Women are represented as harlots, as wise, and as gods. There is a substantial amount of gods which are represented as women and it could represent a society with multiple views towards women. A society where no definitive set of rules were made for women and perhaps a society more open to a equal perspective. It can easily be seen that while men were considered to be the most powerful and wisest humans and gods, women had the power to significantly influence these men. Several women mentioned and described in the Epic Of Gilgamesh carried roles that had important effects on the men they encountered. Of course, this is not much different from the society we live in today, because while many may believe that women have still not reached the point of true equality, it is hard to say that they are inferior and the significance of their roles in society is undeniable. Though Gilgamesh is known for his misbehavior with women, he knows that he cannot always