Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: the Illusion of Reality Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 1 December 2016

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: the Illusion of Reality

What if suddenly you come to the conclusion that the only light in the midst of all your darkness, the only light that is keeping you afloat is merely an illusion, how would you be able to cope with your reality? When failure comes to light, reality collides with illusion, generating the matrix of our own ‘’ reality’’. And, this is how, of course, Martha and George’s Illusionary life was constructed. As we begin our journey through Who’s afraid of the Virginia Woolf, the main characters are epitomized as the average American family whose ‘’American dreams’’ have been accomplished.

Nick and Honey also portray the average young, just married couple who have their whole lives ahead of them to look forward to. As the reader peels off the layers of language, one transcends into a more metaphysical reasoning, the notion of illusions stimulated by the excess of thoughts and experiences. As we enter into the first level of the play, Martha articulates about the Chicago painting, ‘’Yes. They’re married…And she says what a dump/ She’s discontent’’, in the literally level, the author intended to illustrate Martha as a vulgar character.

However, as one transcends into a more meaningful point, Albee subtlety alludes to the reflection of Martha and George’s marriage. As illustrated in the play, George’s historical impotence has perhaps led to the failure of his career, warping his marital life into a complete ‘’dump’’. Though, the only way to embrace their absurd marriage and preserve the limited contentment is by altering their reality through the conception of a child, even if it is an imaginary one. In the play, Albee shows a visual representation of an allusive death, the death of a perfectly beautiful lie. As George enters into the last level of the game, he says, ‘’Flores para los muertos’’, which is a Spanish translation for flowers for the dead.

The bouquet contains ‘’Pansies, Rosemary, and Violence’’, each flower has an analogous representation. Rosemary has a legendary symbolization of commemoration, Pansy; of liberation of thoughts and violence is a substitution for Violets. In other words, it is an allusive bouquet of a visualization of reality. Throughout the play illusions seem indistinguishable from reality. As we divulge more into the marriage of Nick and Honey Albee indicates that their lives are based upon an illusion as well. “But she was a money baggage amongst other things and she was put up with”.

Nick admits that he lacks passion for Honey. He really only put up with her at first because her father was rich and he married her because they both presumed she was pregnant. “The mouse got all puffed up one day and so they were married and then the puff went away… like magic… pouf. ” Now that their relationship doesn’t have a baby there is nothing to sustain their marriage. As the play progresses Nick becomes intolerant towards Honey’s dimwitted remarks. Nick treats Honey as a child by monitoring her behavior and Honey becomes irritated by him always telling her what to do.

Honey consistently drinks brandy throughout the entire play which shows her inability to cope with the reality of her situation. ‘’Who’s afraid of the Virginia Woolf’’ is an allegorical substitution for, who is afraid to live life without illusion. Both, opening and closing scenes feature the song; however, they nuance in expression. In the beginning of the play, Martha buoyantly sings the song and there is rapid explosion of conversation. Whereas at the end of the play, the characters communicate mostly with soft, mellow and single lines.

By the introduction of the song, Albee denotes that the only reality that exists is the one in our consciousness, and without this illusionary reality, life is a hopeless, bottomless pit. Hence, in the first two acts, Martha acts in vigorous manner, since there is a figment of imagination to nourish her artificial world. The mind generates a world of fantasies; by changing our thoughts, we alter our illusions and experience a different reality. To illustrate, Illusions are certainly not an accurate reflection of reality; yet, it is a fundamental component that creates our reality.

The life that we define as reality is just a collection of illusions in our mind and once we snap out of that utopia, life loses its purpose, as seen in Who’s afraid of the Virginia Woolf. The only Woolf that guided Martha through the forest, vanished, like smoke in the air; since then, her world became an empty dome with no reason to perform in. “You don’t suppose we can. ” George interrupts “No, Martha” Martha replies “Yes. No. ” This emphasizes that even after realizing her son is an illusion, Martha is so horrified by the reality of her own miserable life that she still attempts to go on pretending that her son still exists.

Free Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: the Illusion of Reality Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 1 December 2016

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