Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story

This paper discusses Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story as a parable of concealed violence.

The Zoo Story is essentially a parable of poorly concealed violence. Literally, Jerry has just come from the zoo, where he has made the decision which will govern his actions during the rest of the play. Less simply, the title itself suggests the ideas of the thin veneer of civilization which covers the animalistic violence just beneath the surface of man. In addition to this there is the additional inference that the title itself is meant to connote the isolation of man.

Cohn and Dukore write, One of Albee’s impressive achievements in this play is his soldering of the realistic and the symbolic. Classical mythology is evoked by Jerry’s reference to his landlady and her dog as ‘the gatekeepers of my dwelling’ and to the latter as ‘a descendant of the puppy that guarded the gates of hell or some such resort.’. The biblical imagery is …