Analyze a recurring image in The Epic of Gilgamesh and evaluate how that image guides a major theme in the story, thinking about how this image “evolves" over the course of the story.
One recurring image within The Epic of Gilgamesh is humanity as a corrupting force within nature. Enkidu is a wild, beast-like figure who lives among the animals, but is one day tempted by a beautiful human woman and loses his natural purity. Humanity ultimately weakens Enkidu, and he yearns to return to his previous state.
One of the unique themes that runs throughout the Gilgamesh epic is the interplay between wild “savagery” and civilization. The contrast made between these two images is made most clear in the beginning of the poem, which traces Enkidu’s evolution in the forest. However, other elements of savagery vs. civilization can also be seen at the poems very end.
Enkidu, a beastly figure fashioned out of clay and water, lives the life of an animal. Alone in the forest with only the other animals to occupy his attention, Enkidu's mightiness and fearful visage worry the surrounding villagers. They devise a plot to strip Enkidu of his bestial qualities by bringing a harlot,...
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