Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
by Edward Albee

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Versions of Reality

The central message of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is widely believed to be that human beings must learn to live without illusion. Throughout the play, the characters do battle to protect their...

Visions of America

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, first performed in the early 1960s, was a reflection of its time. The interpersonal battles between the characters of the play reflect the Cold War tensions that pl...

Marriage

The play tells the story of two couples who come together for a friendly after-party drink. Before long they are all desperately trying to destroy one another. By the end of the play, the deep flaw...

Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is often cited as one of the chief examples of American absurdism. All of the philosophy's main tenants are on full display. Get ready to think about the stripping o...

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 w...

Dissatisfaction

All of the play's characters are eventually revealed as being horribly dissatisfied – particularly in their marriages and careers. Their disappointments and failures tend to make them bitter...

Sex

In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? sex and infidelity are mostly used as weapons. The characters commit sexual acts or threaten them as way of gaining power over each other. In a few instances, cha...

Drugs and Alcohol

The characters begin the play a little tipsy and keep drinking until dawn. Some seem to have real alcohol problems while others drink just to avoid the horrible tensions of the evening. The ever-pr...

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