Everyone is actually equal - they
have just had different
P: I see no reason why
I should give up this
anyone sitting here, so
I have it all to myself.
J: I said I want this bench, and I'm going to have it.
P: People can't have some of
the things they want, they
can't have everything
P: I just came here to read,
and now you want me to
give up the bench. You're
never been challenged before
J: I'm on your precious bench, and you're never
going to have it for yourself again.
J: You have everything, and now you want this bench.
J: Don't you have any
idea...what other people need?
P: You don't need this bench.
J: Fight for that bench/
fight for your manhood/
fight for your self-respect.
Jerry easily sits and pushes off
Peter - threatening Pete's sense
One of the only constants throughout the play, even after
all of the dramatic events towards the end: the social
division remains despite all the seemingly significant
Shows Peter's more base emotions,
making him seem more human,
underneath it all we are all the same.
Watching them fight over the meaningless object is like
watching to animals (Zoo story)
In reality what Jerry is asking for is not much, however the
slur to Peter's manhood and implication that the bench is a
symbol of their respective manhoods makes it seem like
whoever has the bench is the "winner"
Jerry is leading up to his suicide/death
Part of his daily routine, a constant
a symbol of his power/manhood ( an idea created by J)
He is entitled to it because it has 'always' been his.
Physical representation of everything he'll never have
A means through which he can
prove to himself that he is better
A barrier between their two worlds
By being the one to commit the murder P fits
the stereotype he originally had of J, they are
J found P's weak spot- manhood&power, when
he threatened P reacted on instinct
P's idea of himself and what he stands for
is built on ignorance and a lack of
Jerry has found peace - he has seen now that he is not
the odd one out/ an animal, everyone in all the classes
are the same deep down.
J's last/only victory in life
Prejudices never show the full
notions are usually wrong
It does not take a lot for a
person to show their true
In death everyone is equal - regardless of their material wealth
His last victory
A test for P
Evidence that to some extent he is who P thought he was
His stereotype has been confirmed
Finally realises how far ridiculous
their argument is
Loses his veneer/facade in his own
perspective - realises he is the
same as Jerry
The link between the two classes
A tool to show P's true nature
J: You have the knife
and we'll be evenly
Even now J is still goading P
the reality of the
P: You are raving mad! You're
going to kill me!
Believes his original
judgement has been
ironic - he kills J
P: (holds with a firm
arm...far in front...not to
attack, but to defend)
Detached from the
reality of what he
is actually doing
Whether to attack or defend, he
is still holding/still uses the
J: (wipes the knife handle clean
Was only trying to prove a point (?)
Looking out for Peter -
cared for him in some
J: You're an animal too
P: (Rushes to the bench, grabs the book and retreats)
return to normalcy
P: His dress and manner would suggest a man younger
P: He wears tweed, smokes a
J: Not poorly dressed but carelessly
It is important in indicating straight away to the audience that the two characters are not from the same class.
Albee highlights how the reader automatically
made assumptions about J&P because of their
By returning to grab his book P is attempting to return to normalcy, go home looking
exactly the same as he did when he left: J left a mental mark but not a physical one.
Jerry has his pride - he wouldn't actively want to look messy, but just bad enough that he couldn't be
said to care about his appearance or what others thought of him.
A way to physically divide the two characters
Gives the audience the means (?) to have their own
preconceptions and stereotypes about J&P
He decided P was rich, how he decided to
Aware of the image he
portrays - how other
people will perceive him.
Immediately aware that J isn't the same class
Wealth & Class
Jerry knows the effect he has on people and plays up to it
P feels that he has the right to remain ignorant of other people's reality: he
is willfully ignorant
P: I don't understand you, or your landlady, or her dog
P: I find it hard to believe that such
people as that really are
P: I don't want to hear it!
P: I sit on this bench every Sunday...there's never anyone sitting here
P: I'll have you arrested.
Albee wants the audience to reflect
The link between absurdity and normalcy, and how
easily the two can switch
Equal ground for P&J it is only within their
minds that they are not equal
A place where he is equal to everyone around him
A place for relaxation and peace that he deserves
A plain and calm backdrop to contrast the violence
and absurdity of the play
Even though it is a public park P still thinks it's his right to have
what he wants.
By setting it in a normal park there is an indication that these sorts of struggle of class (
perhaps not to this extreme) happen everyday.
The respective perceptions of the setting give an indication of the struggle
that must occur - both think they are entitled to something that the other
Central Park, New York, on a Sunday afternoon in summer