A Woman Playwright’s Revision of a Legendary Epic: Zeynep Avcı’s Gilgamesh

Pürnur Uçar-Özbirinci, Baᶊkent University
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Spring 2010), 107-123

Zeynep Avcı, a Turkish female playwright, has rewritten The Epic of Gilgamesh to break established myths of the patriarchy and create her own mythical patterns in return. In Avcı’s Gilgamesh, male bonding is emphasized; however, Avcı makes use of the concept of mimetic rivalry to demean the male friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu by attributing supplementary homosexual, erotic overtones to the epic. Through her usage of homophobia, she questions the patriarchal view that regards such male bonding as lethal and base. She also stresses through Ishtar the phallocentric view that perceives female bonding as inferior to male bonding. By reminding her audience of these patriarchal patterns that demean women, Avcı also uses the mythical pattern to reveal how patriarchal society tends to weaken itself through its overvaluation of heroism. Moreover, by referring to different versions of the flood story, which can be found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible, and the Koran, Avcı breaks the chronology of history and establishes the idea that both polytheistic and monotheistic religions depend on the same mythos. Finally, Avcı emphasizes that only love is immortal as she tries to break the established myth of reaching immortality through heroic action.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]