The Sexualization of Women in Literature Comparison Essay by Nicky

The Sexualization of Women in Literature
A look at three classic epics - "The Iliad", "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and "Ramayana", and their portrayal of women.
# 149122 | 2,315 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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This paper analyzes the treatment of women as sexual beings in the three epic poems, "The Iliad", "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and "Ramayana." The paper further notes that an examination of women in these stories allows readers to understand how women in these cultures were treated. This often leads to a better understanding of the family, social, and religious structure of the culture, not to mention its values. The paper discusses each work and its depictions of women individually, quoting salient lines from the works that further explain how women and their sexuality were viewed. The paper concludes by stating that despite the fact that all three of these epics were written about different cultures, all three have something in common--all three use sexual depictions to characterize their women.

From the Paper:

"In all three of the epics, sexuality is alluded to in at least a discussion of procreation and the production of heirs. Although the Iliad discusses sexuality in the relationship between Aeneas and Dido and Ramayana discusses the birth of children, The Epic of Gilgamesh is clearly the most sexual of the epics. That is, in Gilgamesh's epic, women are often referred to in a sexual manner and their sexual nature is celebrated. Sexuality is their primary and defining characteristic. This can be seen most prominently in the relationship between temple prostitute Shamhat and Enkidu. Created from clay thrown into the wilderness, Enkidu is the creation of Aruru, "who created mankind" (The Epic Tablet I), a strong man who is meant to serve as Gilgamesh's rival, someone who is equal to the mighty king in strength. But when Enkidu is first created, he is wild as an animal, so wile that..."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Greek Mythology: Aphrodite (Venus)." Atheism. 2009. 20 June 2009. <>
  • Ramayana. Valmiki Ramayana. N.d. 20 June 2009. <>
  • "Ramayana: Summary." Myth Home: Mythology Site. n.d. 20 June 2009. <>
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh. Academy for Ancient Texts. n.d. 20 June 2009. <>
  • "The history of the Temple of Ishtar." Temple of Ishtar. n.d. June 20, 2009. <>

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

The Sexualization of Women in Literature (2011, November 25) Retrieved January 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Sexualization of Women in Literature" 25 November 2011. Web. 20 January. 2021. <>