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These are part of the lyrics of the fifth ending theme of Hunter x Hunter (the 2011 animation).

朝{あさ}をむさぼり 夜{よる}を吐{は}き出{だ}し

生{い}かんとする 我{わ}が性{さが}

It seems 「生かんとする」 means 「生きようとする」:

生く(archaic form of 生きる) → 生か (未然形) + む(ん)とする

but I'm not sure whether it is a relative clause here.

Does the second line mean "my nature of trying to live", like, as part of my true nature, I try to live? Or maybe 「生かんとする」 isn't a relative clause at all? Since it's a song, I'm not sure.

I don't understand what "to try to exist/live" means exactly, either. Especially since volitional + とする is supposed to carry the nuance of being unsuccessful.

It seems 生く can also mean 生かす (to keep alive), so could 「我が性」 actually be the direct object of 「生かんとする」? Can I use volitional + とする as a relative clause modifying the direct object of the verb in volitional form if I'm the agent? Like:

使おうとしたパソコン
the computer I tried to use (and failed)

Related question about んとする: What is the difference between ~んとする and ~とする?

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    +1, but wouldn't the correct form be 生きんとする?
    – user4032
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 3:37
  • @l'électeur I thought so too, that's why I'm guessing the verb that's being used there is actually the obsolete 生{い}く. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 6:03
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    In the sense of 生かす, 生く follows the 下二段活用, so its 未然形 would be 生け- and not 生か-.
    – sbkgs4686
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 7:28
  • You can understand what "to try to live" means in the sense of "survive / keep living / stay alive" right? A common theme when talking about human nature. I think that is the nuance of the line. (Translating volitional as "try" often clouds the real meaning.)
    – By137
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 10:58

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