Whos Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

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Edward Albee was born March 12, 1928, in Washington D. C., and he was adopted as an infant by Reid Albee, the son of Edward Franklin Albee of the powerful Keith-Albee vaudeville chain. He was brought up in great affluence and sent to select preparatory and military schools. Almost from the beginning he clashed with the strong-minded Mrs. Albee, rebelling against her attempts to make him a success as well as a sportsman and a member of the Larchmont, New York, social set. Instead, young Albee pursued his interest in the arts, writing macabre and bitter stories and poetry, while associating with artists and intellectuals considered objectionable by Mrs. Albee. He left home when he was 20 and moved to New York s Greenwich Village, where he took to the era s counterculture and avant-garde movements. After using up his paternal grandmother s modest legacy, he took a variety of menial jobs until 1959 when The Zoo Story made him a famous playwright, first in Europe, where it premiered in Berlin, and then in New York. This short work together with 1962 s full-length Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a brutal portrait of a hard-drinking academic couple, and 1966 s A Delicate Balance, his first Pulitzer Price-winner, created the mold for American drama for the rest of our century. In 1975, Albee won his second Pulitzer Prize with Seascape. George, an unsuccessful professor of history, and Martha, his wife, the daughter of the president of a small New England college, return home early in the morning from a party for new faculty members. George and Martha are drunk when they enter and continue drinking throughout the rest of the play. Under vicious remarks above him and his abilities she informs him that they now expect guests, a young and fresh lecturer and his wife. George gives way in a resigned realization of the inevitablity and so he mixes the drinks. As the young people appear, Martha begins with the play of the emotional disassembly. With a slowly but constant increased intensity she discovers Nick and Honey, the weakness of her husband, his incompetence, his failed career, his ridiculous physical constitution short, she degrades him until on skin and bones. George is not able to defend himself, he only says that she should stop with her taunts. The young married couple stand this hell-fuss helpless opposite, Honey must vomit because of the alcohol-consumption. In the drunken orgy that follows, Martha and George engage in a harrowing battle to destroy each other, taking deliberate delight in pain and venom as they feed on each other s weakness.

In the second act, George strikes back and he uses Martha s tactics on the guests, by expansions of intimate details, and so Honey collapses. After that Martha turns erotic toward Nick and they disappear in the back-rooms. As George hears that Martha has spoken about their son, the resolution matures in him to make finally a clear table. In the third act George forces Martha in front of ...

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