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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim was the only man to escape death and receive immortality from the gods (his wife was also granted immortality). Many years before the events in the story, the gods had sent a flood to punish humanity. Similarly to the story of Noah's ark, the gods told Utnapishtim to build a boat which would preserve both human and animal life. Utnapishtim obeyed, and all who sailed on The Preserver of Life were saved from the flood. Once the waters receded, Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods and then released the animals back into nature to repopulate the earth. The gods rewarded Utnapishtim for his faith and obedience by deifying him and granting him immorality.