Reality versus Illusion in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Essay

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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 President's daughter). Verbally and emotionally …show more content…
We see this when George intentionally pays no attention to Martha as she tries all the harder to win his interest:

George: No, no now...you go right ahead...you entertain your guests.

Martha: I'm going to entertain myself, too.

George: Good...good.

Martha: Ha, ha. You're a riot George.

George: Unh-hunh.

Martha: Well, I'm a riot, too, George.

George: Yes you are, Martha.

Martha: You know what I'm doing George?

George: No, Martha...what are you doing?

Martha: I'm entertaining. I'm entertaining one of the guests. I'm necking with one of the guests.

George: Oh, that's nice. Which one?

(Albee 40)

The meaning of the title represents the fear that is created in people by other people and the somewhat innate inability for us to be able to gain a closer understanding of one another from the one source largely available to us for that, language. It also refers to the fear of being replaced as we evolve in life and those who come behind us have a certain degree of evolution that may surpass our own, or in the worst cases, completely erode everything we have spent our lives doing. George and Nick represent this in the play because George is the old school Jeffersonian who is terrified that Nick will replace his kind
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