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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, how does Enkidu adapt to life in Uruk?

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the wild man Enkidu must learn to adapt to the ways of men when he is seduced by a harlot and loses his companionship with the wild beasts. At first, he struggles to learn human customs, but the woman teaches him, and he accepts a human role. After he becomes Gilgamesh's companion, however, Enkidu feels his strength ebbing from idleness, so the two friends embark on a great adventure.

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created as a wild man who has no contact with any other human beings. He eats grass with the gazelle and enjoys the company of wild beasts. But he is not fated to remain in his wild state, for the gods mean to give him to Gilgamesh as a companion.

A Trapper who hunts Enkidu's wild beast companions grows annoyed that Enkidu is always loosening the traps and setting the beasts free, so he brings a woman, a harlot, to the drinking hole Enkidu frequents. She seduces the wild man and tames him, but after they have relations, Enkidu's wild beast friends run from him and refuse to have anything more to do with him. He loses his wildness and must now live as a human being.

The woman takes him to Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh, where Enkidu and the woman live with shepherds at first. The woman gives Enkidu part of her clothing, and she teaches him how to eat bread and drink wine. At first, he fumbles and struggles, but soon, he learns to adapt to human ways. He anoints himself with oil and dons men's clothing. He even goes hunting and serves as a watchman for then shepherds.

Then one day, a messenger arrives and says that Gilgamesh has decided to take another man's bride as his own. Enkidu cannot bear this, and he decides to challenge Gilgamesh. The two wrestle together until they become friends, and Enkidu takes his place as Gilgamesh's companion.

Enkidu, however, is unhappy living a comfortable life in Gilgamesh's palace in Uruk. He sighs that he is losing his strength, and he hates the idleness that has overtaken him. His adaptation to human life, especially a life of luxury, is far from complete or satisfying. Gilgamesh decides to undertake a great adventure, and Enkidu is to travel with him on the road to experience exploits that will become legendary.

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