Women Set the Boundaries Essay

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The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in Mesopotamia in 2700 B.C.E. (Droge). During that time, women were thought of as equal partners in life and enjoyed privileges such as owning property and doing business on their own (Craig 12). The story starts off with Gilgamesh who is one third man and two thirds god. His power is out of control so an equal creature is created by the gods to keep him in check. This story is about a man's quest for immortality in addition to the importance of boundaries between the realms of animal, man and god. The female presence is one of wisdom concerning the relations between these realms. Women symbolize the importance of locative boundaries in the text. These boundaries are set by the harlot, Ishtar, Siduri, …show more content…
Now, Enkidu no longer struggles between the realms of man and animal but has found his rightful place as a human. This shows not only the locative emphasis of a man's role in society but also a woman's role in securing that place. By civilizing Enkidu, the harlot manages to keep Gilgamesh in his place by establishing an equal for him. In addition, she puts Enkidu in his right realm instead of teetering on the boundary between animal and man.

Similarly, both Ishtar and Siduri maintain the boundary between human and divine realm by trying to keep Gilgamesh in the realm of man. Even though Ishtar, a goddess, seems to be crossing a boundary by trying to make Gilgamesh her husband, she eventually helps to keep him in his place as a man. Gilgamesh insults her with rejection and she then sends down the Bull of Heaven as revenge (Gilgamesh 85-88). It is a check on his confidence because it is wrong for Gilgamesh to think he is on the same level as a god and can therefore disrespect one. After Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the Bull of Heaven Enkidu insulted Ishtar further when he, "tore out the Bull's right thigh and tossed it in her face" (Gilgamesh 88). Both of these actions are major trespasses over the boundary between god and man. The friends are forced to pay for their indiscretion with Enkidu's life. This tragedy influences Gilgamesh to search for immortality. Then, Gilgamesh meets Siduri, the maker of wine, in his search for immortality. Knowing

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