The Problem of Woman in Gilgamesh and Genesis
The snake hands Eve the apple, and with a twinkle in her eye she bites into the apple, gaining the elusive knowledge the serpent has promised. With shame deep in her heart, Eve smiling offers the precious fruit to Adam, her mate. The prostitute lures Enkidu, protector of nature, into her arms with the fruits of her womanhood. She offers him sexual satisfaction. He like Adam is an innocent taken in by the wiles of a woman. Why do the women tempt the innocents? Are these conquests for victory over man, or is their temptation their way of making sure that they will not "die" alone? "The Epic of Gilgamesh" (pp. 15-16) and Genesis (Chapter 3) tell of the enlightenment and presents the inevitability of the deaths Enkidu and of Adam.
The serpent turns toward Eve and speaks, "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Transfixed by the revelation of all of the benefits of eating from the tree, Eve takes fruit from the tree, eats of it, and gives it to her husband who takes it and eats the fruit. The prostitute likewise steps into the wilderness where Enkidu lives; he is a creature innocent of the world where man dwells. The prostitute, sent by Gilgamesh sits by the drinking-hole waiting for the arrival of Enkidu. When he appears, she strips her body and welcomes his eagerness. There she teaches him her woman's art. Both the prostitute and Eve represent all of womankind.
The men take what is given to them by the women and do not question the right or wrong of their actions. They live only for the immediate pleasure gained form their actions. After the first taste of the forbidden fruit, Adam realizes his nakedness and is ashamed of his state of undress. Enkidu's taste of the forbidden fruit leaves him satiated. For seven days, he experiences sexual pleasure for the first time. Then upon his attempt to return to the beast's way of life, the animals rn from him, and shun him in his new discovery. When he triesto run after the gazelle, he feels "his body was bound as though with a cord, his knees gave way when he started to run, his swiftness was gone." Enkidu, like Adam, finds that there is the wisdom of the world within him, and the thoughts of man now claim his heart.
The women of the two works offer the men the temptation of sex and a fruit. These two things are different, but they represent the same thing: knowledge. The fruit and sex are facts of nature that are appealing to the senses of the base creature, man. Wrapped in the package of desirability and offered by women, the supposedly subservient half of the human species, the man takes what is offered to him without thinking of the consequence. The "tree of life" represents the knowledge of good and evil. Before man eats of the tree, there is no knowledge of anything but what is occurring at that moment. Adam and Eve...