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Edward Albee suggested "Who's Afraid of a Life Without Illusions” was the first title to his play “Who's Afraid of the Virginia Woolf”. How does this help us understand the play? How Important Is This In The Play?

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11/12/2002 Mr. Rea James Whittaker English Coursework Edward Albee suggested "Who's Afraid of a Life Without Illusions" was the first title to his play "Who's Afraid of the Virginia Woolf". How does this help us understand the play? How Important Is This In The Play? "Who's Afraid of the Virginia Woolf" and despite the complexities in its subtext can in fact be summed up in just two words. "Truth and illusion". These are at the very core of Albee's writing in this play and indeed others such as "Zoo Story". This style of theatre takes on the existentialist view of the world. Absurd drama subverts logic. It relishes the unexpected and the logically impossible. It is the hidden, implied meaning of words that assume primary importance in absurdist theatre, over and above what is being actually said. Albee's version of absurdist theatre is very different to Harold Pinter, an English absurdist playwright. Albee's writing instigates a sense of optimism and hope that the dark bizarre plays of Pinter has. Martha is the character most enthralled by the power of illusions. The child is one of the foundation stones of her life. ...read more.


That she is the slave of her illusions, and a victim of her own repressed emotions. George, who seems to want to get back to some truthful interaction with Martha, he only sings the song when he tries to overpower Martha's disparagement of him, when Martha is necking with Nick, and when he tries to comfort Martha in the end. The song makes a mockery of the illusions that both couples have based their marriages on. If one looks closely at these three different moments, it is clear that George uses the song to stop Martha from revealing the truth about himself, to tease Martha for hiding from the truth behind an affair, and to give her courage to live without the phoniness they are used to. The song is consistently tied to moments in which the characters are projecting, or attempting to project, a false image. Finally, the song also ties into the theme of academic competition at the unnamed college where George and Nick work. Nick and Honey also undergo a shattering of illusions. The illusion and they project is that of the happy, young, loving, up and coming couple. ...read more.


George frequently starts one train of thought and then quite suddenly changes it in order to throw Nick of balance but at the same time learn useful information. One example of this is shown on page 18 when George begins to ask about Nick playing handball but then suddenly changes tack and asks Nick how old Honey is. Illusions are the very core of this play in indeed American society today. George, Martha, Honey and Nick all suffer from varying illusions be they a child or those of reaching to peak of one's professions by sleeping with the dean of a universities daughter. The question that must be addressed is that one must face these in order to progress in our lives. George and Martha's marriage has reached as far as it can with in the restrictions of their marriage and they have grown so far apart as to have their illusions differ. They use the games to keep life in their marriage. But these can only work so much. A life without the child or illusions scares Martha and George because it means that they will have to live in a life with change. ...read more.

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