Compare and contrast Gilgamesh and Enkidu from The Epic of Gilgamesh stating what is different and what is the same about them.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created by the god Arruru in the image Anu, and Enkidu is a wild creature without knowledge of civilzation. As such, he runs with the fierce animals, obeys them, and helps them. Gilgamesh is a king who mistreats his people and who is a half-god betrothed to Ishtar the goddess of love. They are alike in that they both have qualities that need to be tamed in order to live with or rule civilized people. They are also alike in that they are both enormously strong.

When Gilgamesh and Enkidu meet, they engage in a wrestling match. They are equally matched and there is no end of the match in sight. Then Gilgamesh gains the upper hand and throws Enkidu to the floor thus winning the match. From then they are inseparable.

They are different in that Enkidu was created by the gods because the people whom Gilgamesh was mistreating prayed to the gods and begged for a challenger to Gilgamesh so Gilgamesh would be preoccupied with him and leave them alone. After Enkidu was civilized by a trapper, he no longer fulfilled his purpose but instead helped Gilgamesh kill the challengers the gods sent to prevent his mistreatment of his people.

They are also different in that Enkidu dies without having learned how to be or repenting for how he has been. Gilgamesh goes on a quest to find immortality and thus conquer death, which frieghtened him when he mourned Enkidu's death for an overly long time. As a result of Gilgamesh's quest, he learns how to be, repents of how he was, and returns to his kingdom as a wise and kind ruler with a new companion.