How does the Epic of Gilgamesh represent society?
Although many elements of the Epic of Gilgamesh are mythical or fictional, the protagonist Gilgamesh was an historical king of Uruk whose rulership is attested by ancient king lists. Many aspects of the epic are consistent with information obtained from archaeological and other non-literary sources.
The epic represents the society of Uruk as one in which the monarch has absolute power. Even when subjects disapprove of his actions or he acts in a manner that violates social norms, there is no mechanism by which ordinary people can prevent him from doing as he pleases.
Religion is an important element in Gilgamesh's society, which is ordered as a theocracy, with there being no clear distinction between secular and religious authority. The portrait of the constant intervention of the gods in human affairs reflects the actual importance of temples in the administration of Uruk.
The society is represented as having very distinct gender roles and strong social stratification. The society is extremely hierarchical. As well as class distinctions, the society is highly urbanized with a strong division between city and countryside. The society is also strongly militaristic, and in a constant state of potential conflict with neighboring kingdoms.