How would you characterize the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu­? Is it ultimately beneficial or destructive for both characters?

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At the beginning of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is a tyrant and Enkidu is practically an animal. In the first two tablets of the poem, we see Enkidu become civilized, essentially being prepared by Shamhat to meet Gilgamesh, who at the same time has been dreaming about a new companion who is about to enter his life. The two begin by fighting each other but quickly become united against the world. Their first expedition is against Humbaba, an exploit that seems to have no other point besides being difficult and dangerous. This cements the bond between them.

Enkidu is later punished for his role in their joint exploits, killing Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. When he realizes he is to die, he curses Shamhat for bringing him to civilization. However, when Shamash the sun god reminds Enkidu that it was Shamhat who introduced him to Gilgamesh, he blesses her instead, revealing the depth of his affection for the king. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh clasps him and refuses to admit he is...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 12, 2019