AlixAnn Scheetz Loving Without Borders
Comparative Literature 102
Dr. David Reddall
The two pieces of literature that I will be comparing are “The Epic of Gilgamesh” which is set in ancient Mesopotamia in 2700- 600 B.C.E and “Augustine's Confessions” which takes place in the Roman empire between 354-386 A.D. Between these two texts the idea can be developed that Eros, the idea of love and lust, can be formed by a strong bond and may not necessarily be sexual in nature. This can be proven in the two selected pieces of literature due to the fact that, each protagonist develops a solid bond between a strong male figure in their life. Their devotion to the important men in their life can be perceived to some point as a romantic longing as well as filial love. Through an analysis of the difference of emotional connections both Gilgamesh and Augustine experience, and the similarities between the attraction, a reader may be able to deduce that homoerotic tendencies do not have to stem from a sexual attraction, but rather an emotional one.
“The Epic of Gilgamesh” and “Augustine’s Confessions” are two very different stories in respects that the first is a primary epic, and the second is an autobiography. Although the two have many similarities when it comes to the idea of Eros in that they both have a strong connection with a powerful male presence in their life, there are many visible differences in their respective relationships. Gilgamesh shows his strong connection to Enkidu even before the two met when he was told: “[he] will fall in love with him and caress him like a woman.” (Benjamin R. Foster 44). By experiencing these feelings before the two had met, it made the bond of their friendship even stronger. Due to that fact that Gilgamesh also had previous relations with women, and was not outwardly living as a gay man, it made these feelings even more confusing for him, which again shows the importance emotional connection plays in developing relationships, rather than solely relying on sexual attraction. On the other side of this, we have the autobiography of Saint Augustine, of whom had a very different experience with a powerful man but, which can be considered Eros nonetheless. This is the relationship between Augustine himself and God. Although Augustine’s relationship with God can be perceived as one with more reverence than that between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, there is a deep love that can be considered bordering on the erotic side. Augustine constantly refers to God throughout the entirety on the autobiography, even going so far as to say “[God] stood in the secret places of [his] soul” (Augustine 847) This shows the reader that erotic love has the possibility of developing simply from a deep respect for someone who is close to their heart. The difference in relationships clearly stems from the idea that one is a true person to person interaction, where as the other is an idolism of the protagonists one true savior; and...