The Belle's Stratagem

When Gilgamesh is unable to stay awake, what two aspects of his nature are revealed?

When Gilgamesh is looking for immortality

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Gilgamesh comes to understand that death is a necessity, another part of life. Utnapishtim challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights (some translations state that he simply says for seven days). This challenge illustrates Utnapishtim’s point poetically. Sleep is similar to death: a prostate body could be a sleeping person or one who is dead. It is metaphorically close to death, but also a necessary part of life. Utnapishtim’s analogy is that one cannot live without sleep, just as one cannot live without death. However, Utnapishtim knows he will need proof to demonstrate that Gilgamesh has failed the test. When Gilgamesh sees the loaves of bread left out for him, he is distraught.