Edward Albee: A Great Playwright
is one of the greatest playwrights of America. This prolific playwright is
known as the pioneer of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’. He received several
prestigious awards for his literary contribution. He makes the pointlessness
and absurdity of the human situation as the central subject matter of his
plays. He is known for his biting wit, his mastery of dramatic tension and his
grasp of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’.
is a very popular American playwright who has composed several popular plays.
The names of his popular plays are – The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, The American
Dream, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Lover, A Delicate Balance, All Over,
The Man Who Had Three Arms, Finding the Sun, Marriage Play, Seascape, Three
Tall Women, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia, The Ballad of the Sad Café, Tiny Alice,
The Play About the Baby, The Death of Bessie Smith, At Home at the Zoo, The
Lady from Dubuque, Lolita, Me, Myself and I, Occupant, Fam and Yam, Bartleby,
Malcolm, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Everything in the Garden, Box and Quotations
from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Listening, Counting the Ways, Walking, Envy, The
Lorca Play, Fragments, Knock! Knock! Who is There and Peter and Jerry. But he
is best known for his The Zoo Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? and A
His plays established
him as a powerful critic of American values. As a playwright he examines the
condition of life in modern times. Meaninglessness of life is at the centre of
his works. Many critics agree that his plays attempt to show that religious,
moral, political and social structures of America have collapsed. Condemnation
of brutality, emasculation, social discrepancy and emptiness are recurrent
themes of Albee’s plays. His plays exhibit a pervading and overwhelming sense
of loss. As a playwright Albee launched fierce attacks on middle- class
complacency and hypocrisy and the moral failure of American society.
Time to time
Edward Albee changes his style of writing. It moves from naturalistic style to
an absurd style and returns back again. Albee has uniquely combined past
literary styles in his naturalistic plays. He shifts abruptly into a
surrealistic style at times. In some of his plays he moves into a formal style
and in some of his plays he attempts a complete fusion of styles. The study of
Albee’s plays makes it obvious the he is in search of a suitable style of his
an essential part of existential philosophy. In an absurdist story characters grapple
with the meaninglessness of their circumstances. They want to find value and
meaning. But the world frustrates them. They face alienation. Albee’s
characters reflect these harsh realities. Therefore, they appear as fragmented
and distorted. Jerry’s tragedy is not just an individual case. He is a
universal symbol of the alienated modern man. The characters of Albee hardly
make any real communication. Sometimes they keep silent for a long time.
Applying such kind of dramatic language, Albee reveals the emptiness and suppression
of modern man. Albee fills his plays with symbolic meanings.
Albee’s characterization, symbolism and language are suitable to show the
meaninglessness of life.