The Epic of Gilgamesh
Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Gilgamesh, you came here exhausted and worn out.
What can I give you so you can return to your land?
I will disclose to you a thing that is hidden, Gilgamesh,
a … I will tell you.
There is a plant … like a boxthorn,
whose thorns will prick your hand like a rose.
If your hands reach that plant you will become a young man again." (11.269-278)
Why does Utanapishtim give Gilgamesh the flower? Doesn't it kind of counteract his whole tough-love teaching style on the whole death issue? Is he afraid that Mrs. Utanapishtim will make him sorry if he doesn't take her suggestion? (She was the one who told him to call Gilgamesh back and give him something at least for his labors.) Or does Utanapishtim somehow know that Gilgamesh will lose the flower, and that this experience will be the straw that broke the camel's back—and that will make him finally accept wisdom?