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The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu

Enkidu, a wild man, and Gilgamesh, a king of Uruk, contested but became friends. Despite Enkidu’s transformation that guaranteed him assimilation to civilization, his subconscious, internal side controls the journey and relationships. Before the transition to civilization, the character was bathing with gazelles, and “his heart delighting with the beasts in the water” (Anonymous, 1999, I.112). Born by a prostitute and a hunter, Enkidu morphed into a judicious person able to be morally outraged by Gilgamesh’s injustice. Nevertheless, this character’s reactions and description reveal his intrinsic duality.

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After the hero forms a friendship with Gilgamesh, the king’s description of Enkidu’s life pushes the hero to tears. It is depicted as the wilderness without true fellowship that only the company of another human can provide. The mentions of his previous savage life and perceived loneliness frighten Enkidu as he says that “terror has entered my heart” (Anonymous, 1999, II.191). As a result of a dream, in which the character relives his dispute and disillusionment with gods, Enkidu curses his humanity and Shamhat, who socialized him.

The presence of Enkidu’s essence is not fully dependent on his civilized side. Namely, Gilgamesh, agitated by his friend’s delirium, speaks, “Why, my friend, does your heart talk profanity…?” (Anonymous, 1999, VII.71). The repeated usage of “heart” to demonstrate Enkidu’s state and its well-established symbolism suggest that emotions guide his thoughts and behaviors. However, only the words of the god Shamash manage to pacify Enkidu. The hero composes himself as “…his heart so angry grew calm” (Anonymous, 1999, VII.149). Thus, the character does not complete the transition to civilization since his refusal to accept his humanity leads to the conflict with gods.

Work Cited

Anonymous. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Translated by Andrew George. New York: Penguin, 1999.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 6). The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. https://studycorgi.com/the-epic-of-gilgamesh-friendship-between-gilgamesh-and-enkidu/

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"The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu." StudyCorgi, 6 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/the-epic-of-gilgamesh-friendship-between-gilgamesh-and-enkidu/.

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StudyCorgi. "The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu." January 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-epic-of-gilgamesh-friendship-between-gilgamesh-and-enkidu/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu." January 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-epic-of-gilgamesh-friendship-between-gilgamesh-and-enkidu/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Epic of Gilgamesh: Friendship Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu'. 6 January.

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