The Epic of Gilgamesh

Describe the process by which Enkidu is taken from the animals to be civilized? Why he goes to Uruk?.

9-16, 1.188-244, 2.1-1-115

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Enkidu resides in the wilderness with the animals, knowing nothing of the civilized world. He lives as one of the animals, running with them and eating what they eat. One day a trapper sees Enkidu at a watering hole. His appearance is frightening as he is huge and covered in hair. The trapper suspects that Enkidu is the one who has been un-setting his traps and filling the pits he uses to catch animals. The trapper returns home and tells his father he has seen a frightening wild man.

The trapper’s father advises him to go to Uruk and ask Gilgamesh to lend him a prostitute from the temple of Ishtar to tame Enkidu. After doing so, the trapper returns with Shamhat, the prostitute, and they wait by the watering hole for three days.

When Enkidu does appear again, the trapper tells Shamhat to lie down on a blanket and show Enkidu her breasts and her body. Enkidu is enchanted by Shamhat and lies upon her and they copulate for six days and seven nights. After Enkidu is finally satisfied, he leaves Shamhat and attempts to returns to the animals, but they no longer regard him as one of them and run away from him.

Enkidu finds he has become weaker and can no longer run with the animals as he did before. His mind has been awakened. Troubled by this new self-awareness, he asks Shamhat for help. She tells him about life in Uruk and its king, Gilgamesh. As Enkidu hears more about Gilgamesh from Shamhat, he begins to feel a need for a companion and decides he wants to meet Gilgamesh.