The Epic of Gilgamesh was originally a folktale set in ancient Mesopotamia that was passed through generations orally before being carved into tablets, eventually becoming a convenient paperback book. Even though the story is thousands of years old, there are still many comparisons that can be drawn to historical texts and even modern forms of literature. As well, many, if not all of the folktales around that time were meant to teach a lesson or give a warning-even if it is not completely obvious from the very beginning. As I neared the end of the epic, I thought there were a few lessons left for the reader/listener. The combination of noticeable parallels and lessons left to analyze provided a pleasant reading experiences.
One of the very first (and more obvious) things that I noticed was the similarity to Adam and Eve. After having sexual relations with Shamhat, Enkidu was no longer accepted by nature and had to find somewhere else to be. I’m sure Enkidu truly realized this was the case by the end of the epic, which is probably one of the reasons that he was cursing Shamhat’s life before anyone told him otherwise. While one can argue that a big difference between the Adam and Eve story and this epic is that Shamhat never pressured Enkidu to do anything that wasn’t in his own best interest. By the end however, does that still end up being true? While Gilgamesh did end up being Enkidu’s greatest companion, he pretty much died strictly because of Gilgamesh’s idea to slay Humbaba and go into the Cedar forest. If he had just stayed in nature and hadn’t listened to Shamhat’s advice, maybe he would have happier running among the gazelle. Similarly, Adam is punished by g/d because of Eve’s idea to eat the fruit by being kicked out of the Garden of Eden and sentenced to eternal struggles.