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Word Count: 568
In Gilgamesh the tale of two companions and their epic journeys together symbolism plays an important role in developing the story and theme One such symbol is the so-called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man plant As the name dictates new life may be obtained by means of it Gilgamesh 80 Symbolically the plant is imperative to a complete understanding of the work It represents Gilgameshs quest for immortality and ultimately a new realization of his own humanity Of course to understand the extent of Gilgameshs final transformation at the end of the epic we must first understand his original character At the start of the story we are introduced to Gilgamesh through a series of varied descriptions He is described as him who knew the most of all men know Gilgamesh 3 To the people Gilgamesh is known as the strongest one of all the perfect the terror Gilgamesh 4 Although the descriptions are inherently contradictory they offer a somewhat enlightened view of a man who is two-thirds God and one-third mortal He is both revered for his intelligence and feared for his power In essence he is both the protector and the terror This image of Gilgamesh portrayed at the beginning is important because as the story progresses we see interesting developments in his character Gilgamesh first learns about the magic plant from Utnapishtim who promises the plant will provide eternal youth and strength Gilgamesh newly obsessed with immortality after the death of his companion Enkidu ventures to find the plant in an effort to save himself from death Gilgameshs quest for immortality is in itself an attribute to a growing feeling of vulnerability which in turn reveals aspects of humanity The plant itself is described as thorny to seize as a rose is thorny to seize Gilgamesh 79 The thorns of the plant connote a feeling of danger that is associated with the picking of it The plant as a symbol of
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