Study Guide

The Zoo Story Philosophical Viewpoint: The Absurd

By Edward Albee

Philosophical Viewpoint: The Absurd

The Zoo Story is a play in which you never get to hear the story of the zoo. That's absurd because it reflects how sometimes the world just doesn't make sense. According to the philosophy of absurdity, humans want to find value and meaning; they want to know what happened at the zoo. But the world frustrates them; it won't tell them about the zoo. This is why people, in general, are cranky and filled with despair. Or at least Jerry and Peter are. Yep, it's that kind of play. (See also: Genre.)

Questions About Philosophical Viewpoint: The Absurd

  1. How is Jerry's story of the dog absurd, in the philosophical sense?
  2. Is only Jerry's life absurd? Or is Peter's life absurd as well?
  3. What do you think happened at the zoo? Are you participating in the absurd by making up a story?

Chew on This

Jerry is brave for embracing absurdity.

Jerry is brave for refusing to embrace absurdity.