ENG 102 - ENG -102-NC33 Barbara Newcamp Drama Paper...

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ENG -102-NC33 Barbara Newcamp Drama Paper 04/28/10 The Portrayal of Married Life in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Marriage isn’t always a sweet affair. Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? demonstrates how a marriage can turn into a war between two cynics. George and Martha are an upper-class, intellectual couple, who once had a loving relationship. Now disillusioned, their marriage is comprised of bizarre and unpredictable bouts of antagonism directed at each other and anyone who happens to cross their path. In this play, Edward Albee illustrates the destructive potential of a marriage gone awry. From the onset of the play, George and Martha appear to be a disturbing couple whose relationship goes against the cliché and idealistic image of marital bliss. Even more so, their cruel behavior is not contained within the marriage, but rather, extends to all who encounter them. Perhaps, Edward Albee intends to show how fine the line can be between love and hate, for at the same time that the couple indulges in cruelty, they seem to ultimately take pleasure in their games. These games also function as a way to avoid sincere communication. Coupled with alcohol abuse, these games are symbolic masks George and Martha wear to conceal their real feelings from each other, themselves, and outsiders. Albee further demonstrates the fine line between love and hate by showing that a long and substantial marriage has provided Martha and George with access to each others’ vulnerabilities. These are the very vulnerabilities that they use against one another. For example, George does not live up to Martha’s expectations. She and her father had once hoped that George would be the Dean of the History department, and ultimately, the successor to her
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father, a head of the university. Martha met George at the university. Early in their relationship, she had hopes that George would attempt to connect with her father in order to raise his
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2011 for the course ENG 102 taught by Professor Leopold during the Spring '08 term at Community College of Allegheny County.

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ENG 102 - ENG -102-NC33 Barbara Newcamp Drama Paper...

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