The Tragic (Male) Hero in the Wake of the New Millennium: Upturning Gender and Sexuality in The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

In: Sex, Gender, and Sexualities in Edward Albee's Plays
Araceli González Crespán
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The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? attests to the vitality and pertinence of the author’s theatrical vision in a critical dissection of American society at the turn of the century. By choosing a well-to-do, liberal milieu and a supposedly ideal family, the author poses uncomfortable questions and upturns what we tend to take for granted. Martin, as a tragic modern hero, powerfully interpellates long-debated notions of masculinity and femininity. My proposal in this article is to analyze the construction of the male individual and the questioning of the given roles he has so adeptly played until now: those of lover and husband, father, friend, and professional. In a moment when masculinity is searching for new meanings and functions, Martin’s tragic flaw surfaces in the mirror of social convention and shatters a seemingly perfect life after he has chosen a new, untrodden way, guided, if we are to trust him, not by sexual drive but by the discovery of a new form of love embodied by Sylvia.

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