What Is The Power In Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

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In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee created a relatable situation in which one of the characters lacks power and overcompensates with mind games to help come to power. It is made very clear throughout the entire play that George is lacking and unsuccessful in many aspects of his life. In order to compensate for his lack of looks, professional success, and ability to form part of the ideal “American Family”, he creates different games which attack each of his guests vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Albee wanted to emphasize that men like George, who are not confident in themselves, use certain manipulation tactics to help keep them in power. From the very beginning, it is important for Albee to share the flaws in George's life because…show more content…
Georges main goal in Act two is to prove to Martha and his guests that he is capable of holding all the power. Act two helps create a bridge between act one, in which there is a lot of silly insulting between characters, and act three where George takes complete control and makes very deliberate attacks on his wife and guest. Early on in the act George makes an observation to Nick that Honey is “slim-hipped” because he knows that Honey is not the perfect American woman. George then deliberately in public, patronizes Nick by saying, “You keeping the babysitter up, or something?” George continues to mention Honeys lack of ability to bear children because it is the only resourceful information he has on his guests thus far. Yet another example is In the midst of Martha insulting George, he interrupts her and starts singing, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf..” which causes her to become enraged and yell, “STOP IT!.” George knows that one of Martha's insecurities is when people ignore her, so by George singing the song, he is not only interrupting her, but completely turning all the attention away from her and her insults. You see George beginning to take all the power, when he plays the gun prank; “George takes from behind his back a short-barreled shotgun, and calmly aims it at the back of MARTHA’s…show more content…
George pulls his most manipulative and destructive stunt in act three when he kills of Martha and his imaginary child. He engages Nick and Honey into the conversation when he says, “Hey you! You want to play bringing up baby. don’t you!” He is trying to condescend them in order to get them interested enough in his final and most dramatic stunt of the night. He also starts off by manipulating Martha into talking about their son by saying, “Pull yourself together! I want you on your feet and slugging, sweetheart, because I’m going to knock you around, and I want you up for it.” Martha complies with his demand because she is so attached to the fantasy child that they have created, that she’ll do anything for George if it means that he’ll leave their “son” alone. After getting Martha mad enough to start rambling about her son, George says to her, “Good for you girl; now we’re going to play this one to the death.” Not only does he foreshadow the killing of his son, but he antagonizes Martha enough to begin the battle. In order for George to be in complete control he needs to take away the one thing that Martha cherishes the most; their son. By doing this, Nick and Honey whom have their own baby and marriage problems will give into George’s manipulation as well.

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