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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Passage Analysis

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Zoe Kwok

on 20 June 2013

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Transcript of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Passage Analysis

Martha "passes [her] life in crummy, totally pointless infidelities...would-be infidelities."
Sleeps with other men
Cannot be satisfied
Sleeps with other men, not only for her own benefit
Aggravate George- part of their sick game and relationship
Laments on the emptiness of the whole game and her actions
Despite all that- only George can satisfy her
love and hate
George and Martha's relationship
Despite the arguments they have-
"There is only one man in my life who has ever made me happy...George; my husband."
Both need each other
George "has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving [her] and must be punished for it"
Martha's hate for herself- "I disgust me"
Pushes George away
"George and Martha: sad, sad, sad"
Dramatic Impact and Thematic Significance
of Page 98 - Page 104 (Beginning of Act 3-
The Exorcism)
Nick and Honey are living a life of illusion- 'Perfect All-American Family'
Nick: strong, intelligent, good physique- almost perfect
Decision to sleep with Martha- shows a more despicable side of him
Marriage to Honey- hysterical pregnancy and money
Parallel with George and Martha
George and Martha- cautionary figures, as Nick and Honey's lies and secrets develop, become more and more like George and Martha
Beginning of the Scene
Martha walks on alone, talking to herself
Creates conversation between George and herself, starts talking in a baby voice- humorous for the audience
Also interesting as she had just finished doing something very adult, sleeping with Nick
Martha, grown woman- though not a very sensible one- acting like a child right afterwards, creates contrast
Beginning of Scene
Also interpreted as a sad scene:
"I cry allllllll the time; but deep inside, so no one can see me...George cries all the time too. We both cry all the time, and then, what we do, we take our tears and put 'em in the ice box...until they're all frozen and then... we put them in our drinks."
Drink to cover up sadness, escape problems
Makes audience sympathize more with her
Theme: Alcohol
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
-Critical Analysis

Zoe Kwok
dramatic impact
Love and Hate
Use of Sound
"Ha, ha, ha, HA! ...Hah! ...HAH! I'm a gattling gun. Hahahahahahahaha!"
Non-sequitur- out of place, doesn't really make sense
Makes Martha seem even more mad than normal
Not genuine laughter- makes audience + Nick feel uncomfortable
Martha & Nick
Nick fails to perform
Martha- "There must be something you can do well; or, are you too drunk to do that, too? Can't you get the latch up, either?"
Martha: Spites Nick, treats him as "houseboy", thinks he's a "flop"
Contrast to previous treatment of him
i.e. openly flirting with him - only to make George jealous?
"You were thinking a little bit about your career, weren't you? Well, you can just houseboy your way up the ladder for a while"
Martha sees through Nick, reveals his true nature
Exorcism- to rid one's body of evil spirits
In this case, refers to:
Characters doing away with the fantasies and illusions
Full transcript