The Epic of Gilgamesh

Utnapishtim Character Analysis

Utnapishtim is a simple and devout man. He listened to the dream in which Ea told him to build a great ship before the flood, and spent a great deal of time and effort to protect his family. Though now immortal, he lives a straightforward life relaxing far from civilization.

Utnapishtim Quotes in The Epic of Gilgamesh

The The Epic of Gilgamesh quotes below are all either spoken by Utnapishtim or refer to Utnapishtim. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Epic of Gilgamesh published in 1960.
Part 4 Quotes

There is no permanence. Do we build a house to stand for ever, do we seal a contract to hold for all time? Do brothers divide an inheritance to keep forever, does the flood-time of rivers endure? It is only the nymph of the dragon-fly who sheds her larva and sees the sun in his glory. From the days of old there is no permanence. The sleeping and the dead, how alike they are, they are like a painted death.

Related Characters: Utnapishtim (speaker), Gilgamesh
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Du

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laboru

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Epic of Gilgamesh quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

I look at you now, Utnapishtim, and your appearance is no different from mine; there is nothing strange in your features. I thought I should find you like a hero prepared for battle, but you lie here taking your ease on your back. Tell me truly, how was it that you came to enter the company of the gods and to possess everlasting life?

Related Characters: Gilgamesh (speaker), Utnapishtim
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo con

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 5 Quotes

In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamour. Enlil heard the clamour and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.” So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind.

Related Characters: Utnapishtim (speaker), Gilgamesh, Enlil
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

‘Alas the days of old are turned to dust because I commanded evil; why did I command this evil in the council of all the gods? I commanded wars to destroy the people, but are they not my people, for I brought them forth? Now like the spawn of fish they float in the ocean.’ The great gods of heaven and hell wept, they covered their mouths.

Related Characters: Ishtar (speaker), Utnapishtim (speaker)
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cu

Part 6 Quotes

Go now, banished from the shore. But this man before whom you walked, bringing him here, whose body is covered with foulness and the grace of whose limbs has been spoiled by wild skins, take him to the washing-place. There he shall wash his long hair clean as snow in the water, he shall throw off his skins and let the sea carry them away, and the beauty of his body shall be shown, the fillet on his forehead shall be renewed, and he shall be given clothes to cover his nakedness.

Related Characters: Utnapishtim (speaker), Gilgamesh, Urshanabi
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehen

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidata

Get the entire Gilgamesh LitChart as a printable PDF.
The epic of gilgamesh.pdf.medium

Utnapishtim Character Timeline in The Epic of Gilgamesh

The timeline below shows where the character Utnapishtim appears in The Epic of Gilgamesh. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4: The Search for Everlasting Life
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
...Enkidu. He declares that because he fears his own death, he will travel to find Utnapishtim, who survived a great flood and was granted everlasting life, allowing him to live in... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...god but one third is man.” Gilgamesh says he has travelled for Enkidu, to ask Utnapishtim about life and death. The Scorpion warns Gilgamesh that no mortal has ever travelled through... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
But Gilgamesh refuses to comply. He demands that Siduri tell him how to get to Utnapishtim. Siduri tells him that crossing the sea is impossible and nobody has ever done it.... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Utnapishtim sees the boat in the distance and wonders how the boat has sailed there without... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Friendship, Love, and Sexuality Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Gilgamesh tells Utnapishtim that he has made the journey to see him. He asks Utnapishtim if he can... (full context)
Part 5: The Story of the Flood
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
This chapter consists of the story that Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh. It begins in Shurrupak, a city built along the Euphrates river. The city... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Utnapishtim agrees to do what Ea told him in the dream. He asks how he will... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
The boat is launched into the water, loaded with Utnapishtim’s gold, his children and wife, other relatives, animals, and craftsmen. Shamash warns Utnapishtim to “batten... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...on. At dawn of the seventh day, the storm ends and the sea becomes calm. Utnapishtim opens the hatch of his boat and sees an endless sea around him. But he... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
...flood, to gather around the offering. When Enlil does arrive, he’s enraged to find that Utnapishtim and his companions have survived. Ea then criticizes Enlil for trying to destroy mankind. (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Ea says that he was not the one who told Utnapishtim how to avoid his fate; Utnapishtim learned it from a dream. Then Enlil enters the... (full context)
Part 6: The Return
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
To get the sympathy and attention of the gods, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that he must stay awake for six days and seven nights. As Gilgamesh... (full context)
Civilization and the Fall from Innocence Theme Icon
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
Pride and the Gods Theme Icon
Utnapishtim banishes Urshanabi from ever returning to his shores, and orders Urshanabi to take Gilgamesh, “whose... (full context)
Heroism in Nature vs. Comfort in the City Theme Icon
Mortality and Meaning Theme Icon
...until he arrives back in Uruk. As Gilgamesh and Urshanabi set off in the boat, Utnapishtim’s wife tells Gilgamesh that if he finds and takes a special prickly plant that grows... (full context)