Preview
Preview

Outcry Against Conformity in Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1646 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Outcry Against Conformity in Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

 

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? may be viewed as a criticism of American society in the 1960s. Edward Albee saw 'the responsibility of the writer...to be a sort of demonic social critic': thus the play became a reaction against the illusionary plays of its time. Two lines from the play are directly lifted from the works which Albee is mocking: 'Flores para los muertos' is from A Streetcar named Desire and Martha's speech - 'Awww, tis the refuge we take...' - is from a play by Eugene O'Neill. Both of these playwrights sanction illusion in the face of reality; Virginia Woolf is said to be an elaborate metaphor for the 'willing substitution of fantasy for reality, the destructive and dangerous infantilising of the imagination and the moral being by fear.' Albee saw society as too willing to conform and adjust itself morally in order to benefit and succeed. George's attempts to escape from such a society result in his hiding in history and thus him and Nick are no better than each other. George has to resist the totalitarian - 'defend Berlin' - in Nick but his attempts to defend Western civilisation 'against its sex- and success-orientated assailants...are too closely centred on his scrotum.'

            The setting - New Carthage - of the alcohol-sodden gathering is significant in itself. The original Carthage was founded in the ninth century BC and it was razed to the ground in 146AD, when it collapsed under the weight of its own power. It is thus being likened to the America of the 1960s where, again, money and power provided the principal axels for behaviour and superseded the values of culture. As Ni...


... middle of paper ...


...tack on society. By referring to well known contemporary texts, Albee mocks the attitudes that their works sanction. The characters are created as before and after pictures of the results of relationships based in delusion, with clear links to moments in history acting as sounding boards for each others thoughts. Their intoxicated states allow, for the first time in a long while, for their true feelings and motives to be revealed, and for all the secrets and lies that have formed the keystones to their marriages to be removed finally allowing a true test of their strength. Unsurprisingly, what is left very quickly collapses: a warning to others and a wake-up-call to society. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is an outcry against the thoughtlessness and conforming nature of Western culture and an attack on those who not only live, but sanction, such a lifestyle.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf For this book talk, I read an Edward Albee's play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." I saw the movie version of this book, which I found excellent, so it inspired me to read the book. The book begins when George, who is an associate professor of a New England college, and Martha, who is the daughter of the college professor comes home after a faculty party. Although it is well after midnight and they are heavily drunk, Martha invites another couple, Nick who is a new and young professor in the college, and his wife Honey....   [tags: Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf Essays] 665 words
(1.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gender Roles in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay - Though usually viewed as a violent play about turbulent marriages, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. should be regarded as an early feminist text. Bonnie Finkelstein writes that the 1962 play portrays and analyzes the damaging effects of traditional, stereotypical gender roles, particularly for women; the play serves to point out how unrealistic, useless and extraordinarily damning they ultimately are. Finkelstein notes that the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique unofficially began a re-evaluation of gender roles in the United States (Finkelstein 55)....   [tags: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]
:: 5 Works Cited
2087 words
(6 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
The Set of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay - The Set of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.         For a play as drastically depressing and oppressive as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the set needs to augment the mood as much as possible. Albee’s play calls for several props, and all of these have to be provided, but more than that, the set needs to look as real as possible, to show that these people are not vastly different from the rest of us. And because in that fact the true horror of the play resides the set is all-important. Luckily, the performance featured a realistic, intricate, close set....   [tags: Whos Afraid Virginia Woolf] 875 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Reality versus Illusion in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay - Reality versus Illusion in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.        In his play, The American Dream, Edward Albee unveils a tortured family that is symbolic of the reality beneath the illusion of the American dream.  In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Albee takes a more traditional approach than the theater of the absurd, and his language is more natural, but he returns to this theme with a vengeance.  For in all of drama there are few plays about domestic relationships that are as caustic, violent and as poisoned with the milk of human bitterness, cynicism and pessimism as is Woolf.  The story regards George and Martha, a married couple (he a history professor and she the University Presiden...   [tags: Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf]
:: 3 Works Cited
1969 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Pagan Elements in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - Pagan Elements in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf   "I am preoccupied with history" George observes in Act I (p. 50) of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. But his relationship with his wife, Martha, seems to lean almost towards anthropology. Pagan social and religious elements in Albee's work seem to clarify and enhance the basic themes of the play.             Pagan trappings adorn the whole structure of the play: the prevalence of alcohol, the "goddamn Saturday night orgies" (p....   [tags: Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf] 1119 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
New Beginnings in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - New Beginnings in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf   Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a disturbing and powerful work. Ironically, it is disturbing and powerful for many of the same reasons. As the audience watches George and Martha tear savagely at each other with the knives of hurled words, sharpened on pain and aimed to draw blood, the way in which these two relentlessly go at each other is awful to see, yet strangely familiar. Like wounded animals, they strike out at those closest to them, and reminds one of scenes witnessed as a child between screaming parents from a cracked door when one is supposed to be in bed....   [tags: Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf] 1723 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Edward Albee was an American playwright producer and director. He was born on March 12, 1928 probably in Virginia. He was adopted at an early age, which influenced him to write about characters that are different. His writings were characterized by realism; fidelity to life as perceived and experienced, and were considered to be absurd dramas. Albee, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, portrays a primitive sex struggle between a middle aged couple; the relationship between George and Martha is acted out in a series of games in which one sex dominates the other through unapparent love, weapons that each have mastered, and the most hurtful insult,...   [tags: Edward Albee Afraid Virginia Woolf Essays] 956 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
American Dream in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - In the final act of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Honey apologetically and drunkenly explains that she has peeled the label off her brandy bottle. To this, George replies, "We all peel labels, sweetie: and when you get through the skin, all three layers, through the muscle, slosh aside the organs, and get down to bone, you still haven't got all the way, yet. There's something inside the bone… the marrow… and that's what you gotta get at." In a play blending realism and absurdism, Edward Albee peels off the institutions and values that Americans held and hold dear, such as family, beauty, marriage, success, religion, and education....   [tags: Who's Afraid Virginia Woolf Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1881 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Essay - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Power Struggles are very common is many marriages. In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee, the relationship or marriage between George and Martha is based in power. The power struggle between George and Martha has become the basis of their relationship. Their love has turned into hate. The only connection they have is through their insults and the series of games they play. The power struggle between George and Martha develops is reveled and is resolved through out the play....   [tags: World Literature] 751 words
(2.1 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Fun and Games – What are the games, and how much fun do people have. The play begins with George and Martha, who have just returned from a welcoming-party at the college. From the first moments of the play, the audience are made aware of the great differences between these two characters. Martha is said to be a “large, boisterous” woman, whereas George is referred to as a “thin” man, with hair that is going grey. Martha is an aggressive and loud woman, but George is passive and quiet....   [tags: English Literature] 2458 words
(7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]