Edward Albee and the American dream



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The plays of Edward Albee are, among other things, social commentary on America. Albee manages to make this commentary by means of the dramatic medium. In The American Dream a pattern may be found which serves as a definition of the American dream as Albee sees it. The manifestations of the dream are concern with social and professional status, prestigious education, conspicuous material comfort, assimilation Into the dominant cultural patterns of American society, and the appearance of perpetual youth. When a character pursues these goals his obsession produces fragmented relationships and unhappy lives. Certain sympathetic characters present a contrasting desirable dream in the plays. They value such goals as a dedication to the truth of the human condition regardless of the painfulness of such truth and to the worth and dignity of all human beings. In his later plays, Albee questions the possibility that these clearly better goals are attainable; thus, he is a traditionalist with respect to the American dream of infinite self-fulfillment.