Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a play based on illusions. Each character lives their life behind some sort of illusion whether it’s based on their past, their marriage or their whole life. Each illusion presents a view into their personal lives and either connects or tears apart relationships in each character’s life. George’s life is surrounded by illusions. He never was able to succeed in anything he attempts and Martha finds joy in attacking him emotionally for this.

He first wrote a novel which Martha’s father refused to publish. The storyline is first brought up through him telling Nick a story from his adolescence. It’s the story of his friend who kills both of his parents and ends up institutionalized. When it’s brought up in Act 1 by Martha, she presents it by saying “”Well, Georgie boy had lots of big ambitions In spite of something funny in his past… Which Georgie boy here turned into a novel… His first attempt and his last… ” (149) This makes the reader question if maybe his friend was actually him.

Regardless of who it was about, George is angry that Martha brought up his novel because it shows a weakness about him. The novel was one of his ways of escaping reality and even that was put down. He had hopes of his novel become a success and instead he has to live with Martha who insists on telling everyone that he is a “great… big… fat… FLOP! ” (93) The biggest illusion in George’s own life is the mystery behind whether the tragic novel he wrote was an autobiographical story or just a piece of fiction.

When Nick and Honey are introduced they seem young, vibrant and happy. Once Honey leaves the scene in Act 2 Nick tells George about an illusion that actually brought Nick to marry Honey. Nick tells George that he married Honey because she was pregnant and George questions him since he said earlier that he had no children. Nick tells him, “She wasn’t really. It was a hysterical pregnancy. She blew up, and then she went down. ”(104) Honey faked a pregnancy to make Nick marry her so their whole relationship is based on an illusion.

He later reveals that Honey’s family had a good amount of money and that is good enough reason to stay with her. Throughout the whole play Nick is shushing and talking over Honey. He is embarrassed of her simple-mindedness but deals with her because he is stuck with her.. George and Martha’s son was a lie. George pushes her to talk about him and she glorifies him. Once she is done George shoots her down and kills him off using the same storyline as his novel. This shows the fiction and illusion behind their son.

She is so heartbroken after there illusion is exposed that she doesn’t know how to live without pretending she has a son. The illusion of their son gave them something to relate through. George was sick of pretending and realized that it was time to face the truth and begin actually living life without illusions. QUOTES “Isn’t tomorrow supposed to be his birthday or something? 76” “The one thing 241””Whose afraid of Virginia Woolf? I am257” Why do people live behind illusions? Does it make life easier or in the end does it make it hurt more? Who is Virginia Woolf?

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