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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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Why did Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight each other in The Epic of Gilgamesh?

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At the beginning of the epic, Gilgamesh is depicted as a ruthless tyrant. He sleeps with every virgin bride and overworks his subjects. The citizens of Uruk petition the gods for relief, and Aruru creates another demi-god named Enkidu out of clay in order to oppose and humble Gilgamesh. Enkidu loses his primitive nature by sleeping with a harlot, becoming civilized, and protecting a group of shepherds. He then learns about Gilgamesh's tyrannical reign over Uruk's population when a weary messenger laments the situation in Uruk. Once Enkidu discovers that Gilgamesh is oppressing his subjects, Enkidu vows to defeat him. Enkidu then travels to Uruk, where he barges into the temple and fights Gilgamesh in an impressive, violent battle. Gilgamesh ends up defeating his worthy opponent, and the two demi-gods become inseparable friends who embark on heroic quests.

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In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is taken in by a temple prostitute who leads him toward Uruk and brings him to a camp of herdsmen. These individuals cook for Enkidu and provide him with beer and new clothes; in return, Enkidu protects the herdsmen's flocks from the wolves and lions who might otherwise attack them.

When a stranger passes through the camp with an offering for a wedding ceremony that is taking place in Uruk, Enkidu learns of the actions of King Gilgamesh, who will sleep with the bride-to-be before her own husband does because no one says no to him. This troubles Enkidu, who decides to travel to Uruk to challenge Gilgamesh.

In Uruk, the crowd rallies around the glorious Enkidu, who has planted himself in the way of the bride's bedchamber so that Gilgamesh cannot enter. Thus, the two men fight, grappling through the city. Eventually, Gilgamesh wrestles Enkidu to the ground, and Enkidu pledges his loyalty to him. The two embrace, kiss, and this is the beginning of an incredible friendship between the two former rivals.

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