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Edward Albee Essay

1931 words - 8 pages

Edward Albee is one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century, this is an opinion which creates major debates among literature lovers. Many people recognize his name as the writer of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; but if the reader takes a minute to evaluate his canon of writing, there is a splendid volume of work available. Albee faced tremendous obstacles that were not always transparent to all. Edward was at odds with the environment and the expectations of his parents. As his plays were written, he often was at odds with the critics. He compared drama critics to Genghis Khan.
A wealthy couple, Reed Albee and his wife Frankie wanted a child to enhance their public ...view middle of the document...

She is, however, in my opinion a selfish, dominating person, whereas Ed is a sensitive, perceptive and intelligent boy….I can think of no other boy who, I believe, has been so fully the victim of an unsympathetic home background or who has exhibited so fully the psychological effect of feeling that he is not wanted” (4 qtd.in Choate.) During his years at Choate, he wrote a novel about a brilliant young man misunderstood by his parents.
Albee was quiet about his sexual orientation, but if someone asked him, he was truthful about the fact he was gay. He grew up in an era when homosexuality was condemned. He was informally engaged to a friend’s sister but he felt he was being deceitful. Criticism came from both sides, critics were convinced that much of his work was about homosexuals; but on the opposite side he spoke at an OutWrite literary conference and was booed. His comment was:”I don’t think being gay is a subject any more than being straight is a subject. . . .Writing on gay themes has become big business and some of the lesser ones are crashing in.” (Bram 278)
Society is often intolerant of anyone that is different, and Albee fits in that category. He is a sensitive, opinionated, liberal homosexual, and he is a brilliant artist. There are so many traits about Mr. Albee that offer the conservative elements of our society reasons to judge his actions over the years. What right do we have to judge other people, and why do we need to judge anyone’s sexual orientation?
Edward Albee was exposed to an insensitive home background and indifferent treatment from his adopted parents. Through his writing, Albee expresses the stress and conflict he encountered in life. Situations, characters, and topics in his plays are shaped by his “roots.” Unrealistic “happy endings” are non-existent in his plays. Mr. Albee’s childhood pain drives the internal conflict which is so often present in his work. His artistry developed despite attempts to make him feel marginalized.
At age twenty he moved to Greenwich Village, and broke away from his parents. The atmosphere offered him the freedom to be himself, not constantly faced with the bigotry and hypocrisy of his life with his parents. In Greenwich he could be free to be himself, and meet other writers and start to pursue his dream of making a living as a writer. He never saw his father again, and it would be seventeen years before he reconciled with his mother. An inheritance from his Grandmother allowed him to supplement his income from various jobs so he could have an opportunity to live his dream. He would have the freedom to devote himself to his writing when he turned thirty because of his trust fund.
Experiments with poetry and fiction were unsuccessful, he found his talent was in theater. Thorton Wilder lived in Greenwich and was instrumental in nudging Albee to write for the stage. One month before his thirtieth birthday he wrote The Zoo...

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