© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh

by Sinleqqiunninni

Snakes

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Hebrew Bible and The Epic of Gilgamesh are written in related languages—which isn't shocking, since both the Israelites of the Bible and Gilgamesh's Sumerians lived in the same region.

It should be no surprise, then, that the sneaky character who tricks Eve into eating the fruit that gets her and Adam bounced out of Eden, and that scoundrel that steals Gilgamesh's last hope of a semi-eternal life—that stay-youthful flower—both show up in a snake costume.

Coincidence? We think not.

Snakes are kinda creepy and all, but beyond that, snakes are just plain dangerous—especially in the Middle East where there are 22 species of vipers and six species of cobras. So, we understand that when these cultures start talking about seriously dangerous stuff that can mess you up, snakes naturally come to mind.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement