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GILGAMESH  They’ll sing my name till the end of time.
ENKIDU          Your days are numbered as well as the next.


GILGAMESH  I’m a god! A living god!
NINSUN         I grew up with gods. You’re no god. You’re a boy.
                       A cruel one at that. And I’m ashamed for you.


Gilgamesh, a mythical king of the Sumerian city state of Uruk, is supposed to have ruled sometime during the first half of the third millennium BC. He is the hero of a Babylonian legend which recounts his exploits in an ultimately unsuccessful quest for immortality. In Marina Carr’s bold retelling of this foundational text she dramatizes the abuse of strength and grievous harm to the natural world. Her play embraces the central figure’s venture to the forbidden cedar forest, the last sacred ground of the gods, his homo-erotic relationship with the wild man, Enkidu, and the price of ecological wastage. It culminates in epic wisdom: ‘Look, none of these things ever happened but they’re all true.’

Gilgamesh preview

Publication date: 28 April 2023
Details: 72pp
ISBN PBK: 978 1 91133 851 2
ISBN HBK: 978 1 91133 852 9

Cover: ‘The Birds and I’ (detail, 2022) by Domino Whisker, embroidery on báinín, by kind permission of the artist
Author photograph: Yousef Khanfar

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