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What is the difference between Albee's absurd theater and the European absurd theater?

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ihssane | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 23, 2009 at 7:34 PM via web

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What is the difference between Albee's absurd theater and the European absurd theater?

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted October 25, 2009 at 3:03 AM (Answer #1)

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Martin Esslin does mention Edward Albee as one of the Absurdist playwrights along with the more prominent ones like Beckett, Pinter, Ionesco and Genet in his book The Theatre of the Absurd. Albee himself has always expressed his great admiration for and debt to Samuel Beckett. In a loose sense, Albee's theatre can be seen as absurdist but in a more Pinteresque manner than in a Beckettian way. Like Pinter, Albee uses a lot of apparent realism in most of his plays and unmakes it from within. The themes of menace (The Zoo-story), the breakdown of a family unit, the terrifyingly closed domestic spaces in Albee's plays (A Delicate Balance, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

If one looks for absurdist elements in Albee, the use of black humour, a signifying use of insignificance, menacing interrogations of being, the parodic use of paralogic, the shifting power equations as in The Zoo Story, the self-undoing symbolism, implicit violence, absurd communication in cross-talks, literalizations of a symbolic frame (goat-love becoming a reality and not remaining an idiom in The Goat Or Who Is Sylvia?), abstract existential figuration (The Three Tall Women) are striking. but his technique combines a lot of other elements too! He is politically energetic, inclined towards sur-realism elsewhere and he has even written sci-fi plays like Seascape and so on.

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dimplesingle | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 15, 2012 at 5:13 AM (Answer #2)

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The way the language presented is same. Rather than plot-focus, It focuses on the parts of events. Also, it is just same. But in American way, what we see is the failure of American dream like Albee's play 'American Dream' but when we look at the european style, what we see is depression of people but it is not the result of American dream. It is the result of post-war era. Maybe, we can make a distinction with the help of social or political issues occuring that time.

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