Can anyone please let me know the meaning of the following lines taken from Edward Albee's play Three Tall Women. The lines are spoken by character A, an elderly woman, expressing her view of the "happiest moment" of the life which she means to be the time of death. My problem is particularly with the part specified in bold.

"Coming to the end of it, I think, when all the waves cause the greatest woes to subside, leaving breathing space, time to concentrate on the greatest woe of all—that blessed one—the end of it"

  • Why the downvote???
    – ajax20
    Jul 8, 2018 at 17:50
  • 1
    Are you having trouble with understanding the meaning of this passage, or just with finding other words to express the same meaning? The former is definitely in-scope for this site, as it's about understanding a work of literature, but the latter would be more a language problem than a literature one IMO. (I didn't downvote this btw.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 8, 2018 at 17:52
  • Thanks for commenting. I actually thought to include it here as it is related to literature, but yes I may shift the question to language website. But I think the question might somehow be related to both areas.
    – ajax20
    Jul 8, 2018 at 18:06
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    What is the question, exactly? Do you need help understanding the meaning, or do you just want an alternative wording?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 8, 2018 at 18:11
  • No I don't need an alternative wording. I need to know the meaning especially behind the words in bold.
    – ajax20
    Jul 8, 2018 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


I think "all the waves" here refers to the passage of time, which is made up of one thing ("wave") after another. With the passage of time, even the "greatest woes" lose their power of immediacy, leaving a space of calm ("breathing space") in which one may contemplate death.


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