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The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Albee’s Sexual Discourse

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2012, 25(3), pp.171-198
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Young-Joo Lee 1

1장안대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Edward Albee deals with one of the remaining taboos, bestiality, with brutal frankness and tests our tolerance as well as its probability. A number of perplexed critics who are reluctant to take its subject literally interpret bestiality as a metaphor for the irrational or spiritual love. However, in order to understand the sexuality of The Goat properly, it is inevitable to accept the awful reality of its subject as it is. This paper explores the way how Albee realizes bestiality on the stage as a fact and clarifies what he is trying to examine through bestiality. When Martin confesses that he has fallen in love with a goat named Sylvia, his wife Stevie and his friend Ross just laugh it off. But emphasizing a word “screwing” and showing his goat photo, Martin gradually makes it sure that he is really having sexual relations with the goat. Delivering their tragic personal history, he also leads us to feel pity for a group of people whose sexual partners are animals. Martin’s bestiality is clearly and shockingly proved when Stevie drags a dead goat on the stage. According to Albee himself, bestiality is a way to examine limits of tolerance. Albee’s intention is effectively achieved when Martin’s family and friend do not allow any tolerance for his sexual deviation. Every one of them reveals contempt and sneers at him without exception. Realistically and sympathetically presenting the way how they treat Martin who acts outside the norm, Albee makes us question our sexual values and expand our tolerance of sexual difference.

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