Failure of Communication in Face-to-Face Encounter in The Zoo Story: A Levinasian Reading

Majid Alavi, Leyli Jamali, Mina Bagerzadeh


Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story (1961) is a perfect example of Levinasian face-to-face encounter in American society. In this one-act play, Albee depicts failure of communication in American life. This article intends to examine the failure of communication in face-to-face encounter in Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story from Levinasian ethical perspective. The present article attempts to investigate the failed communication in this play through Levinas’s ethical notions of “face”, “responsibility” and “love”. It also discusses Levinas’s view about language and his distinction of ethical language which he calls “Saying” and ontological language which he terms “Said”.



Alterity, face, love, Other, Said, Saying, responsibility


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