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Character Role Analysis

Enkidu and Gilgamesh

Wait? Didn't we already have Enkidu listed in the "Companion" role? Is Shmoop double-dipping? Well, maybe you could say that. But the thing is, in literature, not everything has to fit into a neat little package. Sometimes things can fit into a number of different categories at the same time. We think Enkidu definitely fits this bill.

When talking about Enkidu's role as a "Companion," we mentioned that his teaming up with Gilgamesh makes the whole epic a little bit like a buddy action movie. But isn't the whole fun of buddy action movies that they normally pair up two characters from completely different backgrounds, who might not even like each other, but who somehow have to find a way to work things out to complete their mission? We sure think so.

And it works for Enkidu. Unlike Gilgamesh, who is the king of Uruk, the most magnificent city on earth, Enkidu starts out his life in the wilderness, hanging out with the animals. Unlike Gilgamesh, who has a goddess for a mother and is 2/3 divine and 1/3 human, Enkidu is 1/3 human and 2/3 animal—like a movie featuring a yuppie, rich kid who becomes best buds with a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks. You know: one drives a Porsche and the other puts mayonnaise on everything.


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