Themes and Meanings
Seascape concerns the necessity for individuals to examine their lives in order to live life fully. All four characters in Edward Albee’s play are at crossroads; they need to make choices, but choices based on a consciousness of mortality. Albee explores animal nature and human nature in a juxtaposition of these apparent opposites. This opposition forms the dramatic tension of the play. Charlie is content to remain passive, while Nancy urges activity and involvement; Leslie is wary of the unknown, while Sarah is receptive to new ideas; the emotional development of the humans is more advanced than that of the sea creatures. Act 1 presents numerous examples of the differences between Charlie and Nancy: their proposed retirement plans, their past life together. Even their encounter with Leslie and Sarah points up their different responses to new experiences: Charlie is afraid and defensive; Nancy is awestruck, open, and welcoming. The necessity of exploring and questioning relationships and values becomes the focal point of Seascape.
Both couples have experienced what Albert Camus calls “absurdity,” a feeling of alienation. Sarah and Leslie no longer seem to belong in their underwater home. Nancy and Charlie are experiencing the changes retirement brings. All have been moved to question their existence. In act 2, after preliminary comparisons of their lives, the discussion of alienation begins to draw the couples together. The second...
(The entire section is 499 words.)