The Role of Women in Man’s Downfall in Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Bible

Women have often been portrayed as a weakness for the male gender in various societies. The female theatrics and lies have been the source of the downfall for many men, as they have been depicted in ancient epics and Biblical stories. For instance, the Holy Scripture in the book of Genesis describes Eve, the first woman and the primary cause for Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and, in the process, disobeying God. Imperatively, the consequences of such misguidance by the females have often led to suffering and despair of the opposite gender, where famous women misled their mighty male partners owing to their beauty and sexual power. One of the crucial tools of destruction used therein is the sexual consciousness, where sexual promises serve as an instrument of seduction. Women in the epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Bible have been depicted in the manner illustrated above, that is, they are shown to have misled multiple mighty men from doing good. The two stories present females as wise and powerful, but on the flipside, the source of temptation and ruin.

As illustrated above, women in fables and Biblical stories have been depicted as individuals of magnificent power and wisdom. Conversely, they play a central role in the hindrance of success by mighty men to serve a good cause in the society. The epic of Gilgamesh portrays two females, who are an epitome of wisdom and in a complex twist of events manipulate the men they interact with and lead them to eventual downfall. One of them is Priestess, the first woman to have tamed the wild, namely Enkidu. More specifically, Princess Shamhat went to the wilderness and stripped herself naked in a bid to entice this man to sleep with her (Greenblatt and Carol 11). As a result, Enkidu remained erect for seven days, after which he gave in to the sexual demand and made love to the sorceress. The love-making act by Enkidu and Shamhat proved to be his source of downfall since the former was rejected in the wilderness (8). After accomplishing the mission of taming Enkidu, the princess returned to her normal life, while Enkidu was rejected in the wild. In this regard, it is evident that it is her who succeeded in taming him, the act that became his prominent downfall.

The second woman playing a central part in the Epic of Gilgamesh to have misled a man is Shiduri, the tavern-keeper. Gilgamesh met her while wandering in the wilderness, the main purpose of which was seeking immortality for himself. In the text, Shiduri is portrayed as a person of great wisdom; she ever offers her ideas to King Gilgamesh by questioning his judgment regarding life (35). Thus, for instance, she informs him that he should forget his grief and focus on enjoying every single day since death is inevitable. However, the man refuses to follow these recommendations and finally ends up suffering and failing miserably in his quest to live forever.

Similarly, The Hebrew Bible depicts women as individuals who have the power of misleading men. Through various illustrations provided therein, it is evident that females are indeed the source of the downfall for males, an illustrative example provided therein is that from the story of Samson and Delilah. In brief, Samson is a prolific Nazarite warrior, who is extensively depended upon by his tribemates. The secret source of this man’s strength lies in his hair, but Delila, using lies and sexual attractiveness, convinces him to reveal to her the source of his power. He does so, and it eventually translates to the woman cutting off his hair and, in the process, ripping him of his authority and strength.

The two above analyzed stories present women as persons of much wisdom and power; but on the flipside, they are also the primary source of temptation and ruin for their male counterparts. By means of lies and their sexual power, females control and manipulate men, using them for their own good. The stories in Gilgamesh and texts taken from Hebrew Bible, as exemplified by Samson and Delilah, affirm that women were indeed the source of men’s ruins. Thus, Shiduri from the Epic of Gilgamesh is portrayed as an individual of extensive intelligence and life wisdom, but she uses it for nothing else except for the downfall of the King of Gilgamesh. Similarly, the Biblical story mentioned above depicts Delila as the cause of Samson’s destruction. Indeed, women have been historically shaped in literature as sorceresses and manipulators, and men, although portrayed as the stronger gender, have been described as easy victims of the wisdom of their weak female counterparts. Although males are indeed the central characters in many Biblical texts and the Epic of Gilgamesh alike, the role of women therein can hardly be overestimated. Despite the negativity associated to women in the two posts, it can be justified that the women play a crucial role in the society. Shiduri depicted to be a wise woman who has good intentions to help.

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The Role of Women in Man's Downfall in Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible. (2019, Jul 01). Retrieved July 31, 2021 , from
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