If at first you don't succeed, try … journeying to the edge of the world and asking some immortal graybeard for the answer. Or, so says The Epic of Gilgamesh. Really, though, we do have to hand it to Gilgamesh—he doesn't take no for an answer. Maybe he is a spoiled brat, but you have to admit that he generally gets his way—and it isn't because he's killing anybody with kindness. We think the clearest example of this is when a very annoyed Utanapishtim sends Gilgamesh home with the ferryman Urshanabi. The two of them can't be but 10 minutes from shore when Gilgamesh turns the boat around to go back to Utanapishtim for, what we can only guess is, one more question or one more chance at immortality. Geez, Gilgamesh, take a hint!
The main theme of Gilgamesh is the importance of perseverance, whether or not you achieve your goal.
In the epic, perseverance can be a negative trait as well as a positive one. Even though Gilgamesh's perseverance in going to see Utanapishtim is good, Enkidu's perseverance in insisting that Gilgamesh kill Humbaba has disastrous consequences.