Study Guide

The Zoo Story Mortality

By Edward Albee

Mortality

You can't really have Theater of the Absurd without death. Death is the absurd thing. Life has no meaning, but it's got no meaning because you die. What's up with that anyway, universe? That's not fair. Death is sudden and arbitrary and it gets everyone. The Zoo Story trips along from here to there (well, mostly here, by the bench) and then all of a sudden for no reason half the people on stage die and the other half are really freaked out about it. There's a profound truth there—the profound truth being, again, that if you're in a Theater of the Absurd play, something bad is likely to happen to you in the end. And of course that's true of life as well.

Questions About Mortality

  1. If Jerry had killed Peter in the fight, how would that change the meaning of the play?
  2. If Peter had killed Jerry in the fight, how would that change the meaning of the play?
  3. Is the play a tragedy because Jerry died? Would it be more tragic if he hadn't died?

Chew on This

Jerry's death is meaningless.

Jerry's death is meaningful.