Enkidu

Although we may never know the exact circumstances through which the character of Enkidu became irrevocably linked to the character of Gilgamesh, that fact remains, that Enkidu is a fundamental element to the tale of Gilgamesh.  Perhaps like the epic hero of the tale, Enkidu may have been based on an historical personage, or perhaps, like many other literary figures, he is simply a rhetorical tool utilized by the early Sumerian poets to emphasize the main character’s virtues and flaws.  At any rate, he is in many ways the symbolic representation of what the ancients may have deemed to be the virile purity of early man. Naked like the Biblical man before the fall, Enkidu preserves his “primeval purity” even after he symbolically undergoes the civilizing processes represented in women.  Mirror, double and antipode, in Gilgamesh’s Epic tale, Enkidu is the youth of man.

 

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