Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf Character Analysis

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This essay will explore the theme of truth and illusion in Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. It will examine the the ways in which the characters interact with each other in the realm of illusion by wearing conventional masks and engaging in merciless psychological games in order to escape their painful reality. In this sense, this essay illustrates how the characters are forced to play out their roles in a game-like environment as determined by societal norms and, in doing so, posits that their pathological behavior may stem from their unfulfilled personal and professional lives as a result of the societal pressure that promotes the American Dream. The entire play takes place in the living room of a middle aged couple, Martha and George, who live on the campus of a small university at New Carthage in New England where George is working as an Associate Professor in the History Department. The opening scene sees the pair returning home at two o’clock in the morning from a college party hosted by the President of the University, who is Martha’s father. Martha’s first five lines are blasphemous insults directed at George that immediately depreciate his social value and thereby set the acrid tone for what is to follow in the play. Her words and actions are deliberate and mean. She states, "what a dump" in reference to their lodgings that George is indirectly responsible for as the “head” of the building and this works to underscore his implied failure.
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