Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Afraid of Virginia Woolf? By Edward Albee. Specifically, it will discuss what the author is saying about marriage in regard to Martha and George. Edward Albee's classic novel Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? portrays marriage and relationships in an ugly light. Martha and George clearly love each other, but their relationship has deteriorated to name-calling, hate, and distrust. This is the theme of the play, that two people can fall in love, but they may not remain in love, there is simply too much "life" between them. These characters are two misfits, who seem like they can never reach an impasse. Their marriage is a symbol of two people who love each other but do not like each other very much, and they do not seem to like themselves, either. Albee is saying that people marry for different reasons, and expect different results, but that "love forever" is really a myth in marriage.

Albee's classic play tells the story of two married couples, so it is clear from the beginning the author has something important to say about marriage. The way George and Martha relate to each other is central to the play, and central to the theme of love and marriage. George and Martha love each other, but they do not seem to like each other or respect each other very much. Late in the play Martha contemptuously refers to George as "the shadow of a man flickering around the edges of a house" (Albee 226). This shows that their marriage is not happy, as it shows throughout the play, but it also shows Martha's contempt for her husband, his work, and everything he stands for. Later, Martha calls their marriage a "sewer" (Albee 227), and cannot seem to remember anything good coming of their marriage. It is a sad statement about their relationship and the way they view each other.

There is something important about the couple's relationship however, and how it relates to marriage and the theme Albee weaves throughout the play. These two people obviously care for each other, or they would not be able to withstand the words they throw at each other like weapons. "I disgust me" (Albee 189), Martha tells George in the Third Act, and he agrees with her. They disgust each other, but they love each other and so they can withstand the difficulties of their marriage. Throughout the play they refer to each other as "love," and while it seems like it does not fit their actions, it seems to indicate that they do really love each other, and their marriage was originally based on love and mutual affection. Albee is showing that love and marriage can disintegrate in time, and that people grow older, change, and lose their respect for one another, and for themselves. However, if the love or foundation of the relationship is strong, then the relationship will probably endure, just like George and Martha's has. Albee also shows that two people create their own type of relationship. George and Martha's type of relationship would not work for everyone, but sadly it works for them, and so they stay in it.

There is another aspect to George and Martha's…