Which mainly focuses on the conflict between reality and illusion as reflected in one of its main characters, Martha. This paper also will touch upon the themes of materialist marriage, social hypocrisy complexities of motherhood, frustration, and self-delusion. These conflicts were in turn ascribed to the psychological distress and sense of loss felt by Martha. The play features Martha and her husband George, who are playing the main characters, as well as Nick and his wife Honey, who are playing the secondary characters.
Martha then married George in hopes that he would become the head of the history department and eventually succeed her father as the university dean. Martha then became dependent on alcohol and lived in a state of loss, isolation, and fear of facing her reality.
To cope with these issues, Martha resorted to insulting her husband and humiliating him in front of other people. George is a year-old professor in the history department of the same university where Martha teaches. During his childhood, he accidentally shot and killed his own father.
At the end of the play, after Martha loses control and begins to humiliate her husband in front of their guests, George decides to punish her by killing their imaginary child. He has the right amount of intelligence and opportunities to reach his aspirations, and he even engaged in a sexual relationship with some of the faculty wives to fulfill his personal interests.
Nick is married to Honey, whom he has known since childhood. Unbeknownst to his wife, Nick only married her for her wealth and because she is expecting their child. Honey is the year-old wife of Nick, whose weak personality greatly contrasts that of her husband. She is the most innocent and least talkative character in the play.
Although they arrive home at 2 in the morning, Martha tells George that she has invited Nick and his wife Honey for an after party.
Religion In 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?'
George is upset by the news and tries to tell her about the time, but she does not pay heed to his words. The first events in the play clearly depict that George and Martha have spent most of their married life quarreling and insulting each other even though they try to make themselves appear decent in the community. The play is divided into three parts. The first part presents the ideals and principles carried by each character. These characters generally talk about their convictions, interests, and views on various professional and life topics. In the second part, the characters drink too much and start divulging their secrets.
Nick and Martha watch as Martha humiliates George. In the third part, Martha loses control and continues to humiliate George by trying to seduce Nick. George takes revenge by telling their guests about their imaginary son.
After the big reveal, the guests leave and Martha collapses while she talks to George in a state of despair and loss. George embraces Martha and asks her to try facing reality and rebuild their lives.
Albee revealed the deceptiveness of modern American life by focusing on the family life of university teachers because they represent the intellectual class of the society. Albee introduced two family models from two different age groups. The first family, represented by George and Martha, is living with loss, isolation, and fear of facing their reality, all of which push them into hiding behind the image of their imaginary son. The second familyis represented by Nick, a young American man who aims to increase his wealth and upgrade his position in society through perverse ways, such as by marrying Honey, a woman he only wanted for the wealth she inherited from her father.
Albee deliberately set the events of the play at night to create a rhetorical image of the reality of modern American family relations. Under the influence of alcohol, people tend to divulge their secrets and behave barbarically toward one another.
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These are the same characteristics of American families that Albee criticized in most of his plays because of the devastating damage that they cause to American families and societies. The modern American individual considers marriage as an economic deal by which he can achieve his goals, a social duty that complements his personality, or an institution for satisfying his procreation and sexual needs.
Albee called for the restoration of marriage as an intimate relationship based on love, cooperation, and mutual understanding between two people to create a happy family that would serve as the nucleus of a healthy society. She married George to achieve her goal of succeeding her father as the university dean and to satisfy her yearning to become a mother. Meanwhile, George did not find in Martha the person who he thought would complete his personality and help relieve his sense of inferiority.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay
Therefore, George and Martha turned into a war of words and insults in an attempt to humiliate each other. Nick is among the most prominent figures in the play given his representation of a materialistic American individual who strives to achieve his desired wealth and social position. In the play, Nick tells George that he only married Honey in hopes of receiving the wealth that she inherited from her father and to fulfill his paternal role.
Meanwhile, Honey is an uneducated woman who thinks that Nick, as a bright university professor, will greatly complement her lacking personality. The confrontations between any of these couples clearly reflect their sense of despair, loss, and anxiety. Albee stressed the importance of standing in the state of anxiety that lives within the human consciousness as reflected in the actions and reactions that negatively affect family relations. The marital relationship of the characters serves as a model for American families after the Second World War.
Through these relationships, Albee highlighted the dangers of escaping from reality and preferring to live in delusion and isolation, which have become a haven for American individuals who are trying to escape from their miserable and the materialistic lifestyles. Albee also revealed the disguised nature of American family life at the time and attacked the social hypocrisy of American individuals.
In this play, Albee highlighted the internal obstacles and problems being faced by American families as manifested in the characters disappointment from failing to achieve their goals, their feelings of loss, and their failures in dealing with members of their community. The words of Martha and her strong desire to engage in a conversation with George reflect the emotional vacuum that she has been living in throughout her marriage.
She seeks to avenge herself and escape from her state of anxiety and isolation by insulting George. George sometimes rejects the modern lifestyle and calls for a return to the right connections in human relations. Therefore, throughout the play, George preserves the character of a history professor who advises the younger generation Nick and Honey and motivates them to adhere to their principles.
Nick married Honey just for her wealth and to become the father ofher expected child. However, at the end of the play, Honey reveals that she had been lying to her husband about her pregnancy. Despite his apparent disappointment, Nick decides to stay with his wife because of her wealth. She is presumed to be pregnant while taking a birth control drug.
She is an authoritarian figure who sees in her father the ideal husband with whom she wants to associate herself. However, by playing the leading role in her family and constantly humiliating George, Martha found an outlet to alleviate her internal conflicts. The presence of a child in the family helps perpetuate the emotional bonds between husband and wife as well as strengthens the feelings of affection between them by establishing a common link.
By contrast, the failure to produce a child leads to a vacuum and a feeling of inferiority, especially for the wife.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Martha yearns for the status of motherhood because of her inability to have children. Martha tries to realize her dreamsof motherhood and fill the void in her life by inventing an imaginary son. Similarly, Honey embodies an image of a woman who lives in a world of fear and anxiety about infertility. Although she told Martha that she was taking birth control pills, she married Nick by deceiving him with a story about her false pregnancy.
However, this child may also increase their frustration, anxiety, fear of the unknown, and state of loss.
The marital relationship between George and Martha is based on their shared secret of living in a world with their imaginary child because this child gives them an outlet to forget their boring married life. However, they have also used this secret as a weapon to threaten each other. For instance, in the scene where Martha loses control of herself under the influence of alcohol, hurls repeated insults toward George in front of their guests, and begins hinting about their imaginary child, George threatens and warns her to avoid bringing up the subject Choudhuri George and Martha created a world of illusion where they preferred to live instead of confronting their reality.
In other words, they built their life on a lie to hide themselves from the outside world. Although Martha represents the strongest personality in the play, the decision maker in her household, and the first to directly insult her husband, George gains the upper hand at the end of the play by destroying the world of illusion in which he and Martha have lived together, therebywaking Martha from her illusion and breaking her state of unity.
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