In The Epic of Gilgamesh, why does Gilgamesh seek out Utnapisthim?
Gilgamesh is distraught over the death of Enkidu. He is forced to face his own mortality in the death of his friend. Seeing that someone equal to himself in physical strength could succumb to death, Gilgamesh is shaken to his core. He seeks Utnapishtim "whom the gods made immortal." He wants to ask him "how he managed to overcome death." Although it means great hardship for Gilgamesh, he is determined to know the secret to eternal life.
He suffers through trials, including passing the scorpion people who guard the tunnel of the sun, crossing the Waters of Death after smashing the crew of Stone Men, and convincing Urshanabi to ferry him across the sea. Even after reaching Utnapishtim, he learns that immortality is impossible for him. Utnapishtim instead tells him that "man's life is short, at any moment it can be snapped." It turns out that Utnapishtim was chosen by the gods, & that they made the promise to never do that again. Thus Gilgamesh's journey for immortality was in vain.
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