Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Theme of Power
The play is driven by George and Martha's relentless battle of wills. Albee seems to use the struggle for power between man and wife as a metaphor for the larger Cold War struggles that the world was facing at the time of the play. (To learn more about how the Cold War relates to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, check out "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory.")
Questions About Power
- How does George and Martha's battle for power drive the action of the play?
- What tactics do the characters use to gain power over each other?
- George seems to gain power by the end of the play. Will he be able to keep it?
- What is the power dynamic in Nick and Honey's relationship?
Chew on This
Martha's main tactic at gaining power is the humiliation of her enemies.
The characters that strive the hardest to gain power are the ones who ultimately feel the most powerless.