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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"Fun and Games" - What are the games, and how much fun do people have

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Introduction

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. The fact that the characters are so different leads to inevitable conflict between them. Throughout Act I, which is ironically entitled "Fun and Games", there is a great power struggle between them. The "games" are simply the tools with which George and Martha attempt to assert their dominance. After Martha has entered the family home, she looks around and immediately exclaims, "What a dump!". She then asks George which film the phrase comes from. It is possible that Martha already knows the answer to this, but asks George anyway, because she is aware that he does not. This is the first "game" that is played out between the two characters. Martha continues to ask her husband which Bette Davis film the phrase is from, and he eventually gives her a reluctant answer, "Chicago! ...read more.

Middle

The fact that they do not kiss may also indicate a problem with their sex life, and this may be at the heart of the problems in their relationship. The married couple continue to fling insults at one another, until the doorbell chimes. There is a continuation of the childish battles between the two, as they even argue about who should open the door, "Martha: Go answer the door / George [not moving]: You answer it". This is yet another child-like game that the two characters play. It is Martha who ends up as the victor in this case, and George eventually agrees to open the door. Martha has asserted her dominance over George here, has he has accepted her orders. However, George provokes his wife into a frenzy while they talk about their son, causing Martha to shout "Screw You!" just as George opens the door for the young couple. George has deliberately planned for this, in order to humiliate Martha. Again, he has used her anger and child-like insults to his own advantage, and thus wins the final "game" that the two play in private. George probably knows that Martha has invited Nick in order to flirt with him. The fact that Martha does this illustrates her dominance in the relationship, and suggests how George is trapped, as he dare not argue with a woman who's father is the college President. ...read more.

Conclusion

The subject is clearly a source of great tension between the two of them. George says, "I want to know...you brought it out into the open", but Martha appears upset and shouts, "I don't want to talk about it!". Again, George has turned Martha's own foolishness against her here. However, Martha again turns the subject round to once again focus on George's manhood. She claims that the only reason George calls their son a "little-bugger" is because he is uncertain that the child is really his. George is offended by this, and calls her a "wicked-person", even though he probably suspects, or knows, that the child is indeed not his. A the end of the Act, Martha begins another relentless campaign to make George feel like a failure, and how he doesn't have the "stuff" to become head of the history department. This culminates in George smashing a glass in frustration. This is the first time that words have failed George, and he appears utterly beaten by Martha's cruel insults. He then begins to sing Martha's Virginia Woolf song, in an attempt to drown her out. This is ironic, as he is, in a way, conceding defeat to her by doing this. George's patience appears to have evaporated, and Martha seems victorious. In conclusion, it must be said that the ironically named "games" between George and Martha cause a great deal of pain to both characters. Neither can be said to be having "fun" at any time, though there were occasions when Martha appears turned-on by the conflict. ...read more.

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