Civility In David Ferry's Gilgamesh

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Within David Ferry’s Gilgamesh, civility is given importance. Quickly demonstrated by Enkidu “becoming humanized” in contrast to his former wild demeanor. By becoming more human, Enkidu is welcomed into the society perpetuated during that time. The Sumerians, even though this story comes from oral tradition, placed value on blending in. Yet, Enkidu still had his unique qualities just like Gilgamesh, but the fact that he was, without proper consent, assimilated into what they deemed as civil, demonstrates that outsiders could have been thought savage. Now, barbaric behavior is also emanating from Gilgamesh at the start of the tale, before meeting his equal, Enkidu, that there “was no withstanding the aura or power of the Wild Ox Gilgamesh.” He could have anything he wished and did as he wished for there was no one to confront him on such matters.…show more content…
The shift is visible when heading into the Cedar Forest, considering it was a rash decision on Gilgamesh’s part to attack Huwawa in the first place, Enkidu becomes his catalyst to think clear. Enkidu calms Gilgamesh by stating, “It is your restless heart’s desire to venture into the Cedar Forest. [I] will not forsake you...let [me] go first…to quench your thirst and offer to the god.” This moment of rationality refers back to civility, but also touches upon the idea of companionship. For, were it not for taking the moment to think in the actions they shall take, they would be following mere wild instincts. Referring back to companionship, which is highly regarded within Gilgamesh, it is clear that without the ability to rely on one another Gilgamesh would never have been able to accomplish so much. Which is demonstrated whenever they were unable to accomplish a task individually, that by combining their strength they were able “prevail together,” in most of the cases

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