Study Guide

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd

By Edward Albee

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 of illusions and the overall meaninglessness of life. (To learn more about absurdism, check out "Genre.")

Questions About Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd

  1. What similarities does Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? have to other absurdist plays? Think here about Beckett's Waiting for Godot in particular.
  2. In what ways does the play straddle the line between realism and absurdism?
  3. How does the "killing" of the imaginary son reflect an overall absurdist view of the world?
  4. If nothing means anything, what's the point of doing anything at all?

Chew on This

The play argues that people must come to terms with absurdity of their existence before they can lead honest lives.

With Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Albee uses an outwardly realistic framework to explore absurdist ideas.