The Epic of Gilgamesh

How does the epic portray social roles in ancient Sumer?

epic of gilgamesh

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When we first meet Gilgamesh, he is a tyrant king who terrifies the people of Uruk. Only after meeting Enkidu and becoming his friend does Gilgamesh transform into a hero worthy of memory. This transformative effect is also exacted on Enkidu, who Gilgamesh helps move beyond his fears. The platonic love the two have for each other helps Gilgamesh become a better leader to his people by allowing him to better understand and identify with them and their social roles. When considered in tandem with the theme of death in the poem, the roles of love and friendship can be viewed not only as a part of life, but as a necessary component to give existence meaning.