Compare and contrast Ishtar in Gilgamesh with Eve in the Bible.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ishtar, in the anonymous Sumerian epic Gilgamesh, is very different from Eve in the Bible. First, Ishtar is a powerful goddess and Eve is a mortal. Although both Eve and Ishtar can be read as sexually seductive, in Eve's case, she is to a larger degree naive and innocent in her sexuality and misled by the serpent. Ishtar is a sexual goddess. Her sexuality is not regarded in a purely negative manner as both human fertility and the fertility of the land were regarded as connected and generally beneficial. Ishtar's lovers do come to a bad end, but this is true of most fertility goddesses. The male lover, or year-king, like the vegetation, dies each year and either is reborn or replaced. Although one might not wish to be one of Ishtar's lovers, society in general (under this religious system of belief) benefits from worship of Ishtar because she brings fertility to the land and the people. Adam is not a fertility god and Eve's relationship with him not part of a vegetative cycle.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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