In exchange for the wisdom Enkidu gains from the templeprostitute he loses several things as a consequence. In the Epic, the goddesscreated Enkidu in the image of several gods with animalistic traits, and he was”innocent of mankind; he knew nothing of the cultivated land.” However, afterlying with the temple prostitute for 6 days he lost his animalistic qualitiesand became completely human. The wild game that had once accepted him as a partof their world now turned and fled from him because of that change. When heattempts to follow them, the speed and agility he once had fades away quickly. Thewriting says, “his body was bound as though with a cord, his knees gave waywhen he started to run, his swiftness was gone.
” The Epic reads, “Enkidu wasgrown weak, for wisdom was in him, and the thoughts of a man were in hisheart.” I also feel that an unspoken truth is that he lost his freedom. Beforesleeping with the temple prostitute he roamed the lands, freely eating anddrinking when and where he pleased.
It could be said he was one with nature andwas a protector of the wild life. After his encounter with the woman he becameentrapped by the “civilized” world and its ways. He was made to eat and drinklike the city men.
The temple prostitute said, “Enkidu, eat bread, it is thestaff of life; drink the wine, it is the custom of the land.” She dressed himand with all this “Enkidu had become a man”. Ultimately, I believe his greatestloss was his life. Had he never succumbed to the “woman’s power” and embraced herwhen she beckoned him, he may have never met Gilgamesh and traveled and foughtwith him. When the gods decided they must destroy one of the two closecompanions, they chose Enkidu. So yes, he gained ‘wisdom’ from the templeprostitute, but in a very short time he loses everything including his life.
In the Epic, Gilgamesh grows through the transition fromknowledge to wisdom. Once connected to Enkidu he is determined to write hisname in the history books. He states, “I have not established my name stampedon bricks as my destiny decreed”. He determines that his first quest should beto rid the Cedar Forest of the evil Humbaba. Enkidu offers his knowledge of thedestructive power of Humbaba to Gilgamesh who in turn scoffs at his newlygained knowledge. He labels Enkidu as fearful of death and schools him insaying, “Only the gods live forever with glorious Shamash, but as for us men,our days are numbered”.
In essence he was saying that all men die and it wasnothing to fear. Even the counsellors of Uruk that he sought out agreed that itwas not wise to seek out Humbaba saying, “Gilgamesh, you are young, yourcourage carries you too far, you cannot know what this enterprise means whichyou plan.” However, when death comeshome to Gilgamesh and Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh goes on his journey to findUtnapishtim. He hopes that Utnapishtim will tell him how to obtain immortality.
Instead, through the death of Enkidu and journey to Utnapishtim, Gilgameshattains wisdom. Also, with his encounters with Ishtar, after refusing hermarriage proposal and insulting her based on his knowledge of her previousmates, Gilgamesh gains wisdom in dealing with the gods after hearing the greatflood story of Utnapishtim. In the Epic the gods of Gilgamesh are portrayed aswrathful and vengeful and he must use wisdom in dealing with these beings. Bythe end of the epic no longer is he a tyrannical king that is reckless withlife.
Gilgamesh truly understands that he will not live forever, he will ageand he must use wisdom to live a life that is a blessing to others. He finallyunderstands that being a good king is what gives him immortality in a way henever thought of.