This essay looks at the role of myth in Cement, an early 1970s play written by the East German playwright Heiner Müller in the wake of the New Economic System of Plan and Control. By “updating” myths of labor (e.g., the myths of Prometheus and Hercules), Müller explores the dialectic of anthropomorphism and abstraction that structures modern production. Müller also considers mythical thinking itself a force of production and a technology; it is, Müller wrote, “an aggregate, a machine, onto which other new machines can always be coupled.” Both myths of labor and myth as labor converge in Müller's Cement.

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