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Quotes

Quote #1

Becoming aware of himself, he sought a friend. (1.194-204)

Enkidu's desire for a friend is an important stage in his transition from the wild-man life to ordinary human life. After all, can it really be coincidence that Enkidu experiences this desire right after becoming "aware of himself"—something that we normally think of only humans as doing?

Quote #2

You loved him and embraced him as a wife;
and it is he who will repeatedly save you.
Your dream is good and propitious! (1.249-254)

Whoa, there, Ninsun: here, Gilgamesh's mother puts a positive spin on her son's weird dream about embracing a massive meteorite, which is cool, but what about that whole bit about how Gilgamesh "loved him and embraced him as a wife"? Doesn't that sound a bit closer than just being friends? Do you think the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu shades just a bit into something more romantic? If so, you wouldn't be the first reader of Gilgamesh to get this impression.

Quote #3

Gilgamesh bent his knees, with his other foot on the ground,
his anger abated and he turned his chest away.
[…]
They kissed each other and became friends. (2.103-109, 129)

Fight over. As you may recall, Enkidu's plan has been to give Gilgamesh a royal thumping and show him who's boss. As it turns out, Gilgamesh is the one who administers the royal thumping (which makes sense, him being a king and all) … but Enkidu doesn't seem to mind. In fact, the two of them end up becoming the best of friends. Is it just a coincidence that they fight before becoming friends? Or could it be that the close fight creates a baseline feeling of respect between them, and thus makes their friendship possible?

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