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Within the play, " Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf," written by Edward Albee, there are two main contrasting, strikingly different male characters Nick and George.

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Introduction

Within the play, " Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf," written by Edward Albee, there are two main contrasting, strikingly different male characters Nick and George. This essay hopes to examine the different characteristics of George, the acknowledged 46-year-old failure and Nick, the young, handsome professor who has the potential to succeed where George has failed. The main differences presented in this playwright are based mainly on different levels of potential and ambitions. George is the antagonist in the play who is frustrated with his life and the illusions that his wife and he have created. Nick contrastingly is yet to rise in his conquest for power. However, both Nick and George possess certain traits or characteristics that the other lacks and envy's. Throughout the entire play, George and Nick proceed through an ongoing verbal battle, competing for the position of high standing prestige. It is important to present Nick and George's characteristics to infer a comparison between them. George is the 46-year-old husband of Martha. He is characterised as thin with greying hair. George is a member of the history department at his father in- laws university in New Carthage. During the play it is evident that George was once in a young loving relationship, but now it is defined by sarcasm and acrimony, (bitter, ill- natured animosity, especially in speech and behaviour.) ...read more.

Middle

Nick is presented to the audience as a good looking blond Midwestern who is clean cut and appealing. Nick has what can be seen as, " young potential," at the age of 28. He is married to his young, childhood love who proudly boasts that Nick is a young genius, " who received his masters degree at just twenty years old." The main characteristical difference between George and Nick is Nick's potential to succeed where George has failed in perhaps becoming something prominent in the university faculty. This appears to be the main conflict in the play. The chaos is underlined by Nick's destruction of George and Martha's microcosm. Nick is portrayed as a biologist who threatens the conformity of life, inferred from his role as a biologist who will, " rearrange all the chromosomes." Though George and Nick have their differences, there is one prominent similarity between the two characters. Both Nick and George seem to seek comfort in illusion rather than reality. Both Nick and George thrive on illusion. George's entire existence is based on his idea of illusion. It is obvious that George thrived on the illusion that he could become President of the university. However, this is untrue and George is revealed as a, " flop," which has wrought significant damage on his life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the whole evening, Nick responds to Martha's advances, not, because he is attracted to her, but due to his enthusiasm to get close to the president of the university's daughter. Nick and George's futile attempts at grasping power can be perceived as a competition between the two male characters. Historical context has influenced the characters in this play. This was the era of cold war, where lack of human communication led to an increase in competition and rivalry. Nick can be seen as the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who had risen to become the premier of the Soviet Union at the time of the writing of the play. Nick can be seen as a rising character who destroys the George's American Dream that anything is possible in the land of the free. The characters of George and Nick can therefore be seen through their differences in ambition and potential. George can be seen as a relic of the past- unable to rise any further than his position in the history department. George is recognised as a failure who is unable to redeem himself. Nick is however, " the wave of the future," who has yet to rise. Nick has the potential to succeed in life where George has failed, perhaps becoming head of the biology department and even the university. The era that this play was written in contributes to the lack of human communication and factors of Cold War. ...read more.

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