"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee

Essay by jakejacobsenHigh School, 12th gradeB+, March 2006

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A. In the play, each of the four characters has their own personal secrets revealed. First, George's failed attempt at being an author is brought to light by Martha. She tells Nick and Honey about how George wrote a whole novel about a boy killing his mother and his father, and how her father denied him the right to publish it. He dubs this time of verbal abuse "Humiliate the Host." Next, George turns the discussion onto Nick and Honey in a game called "Get the Guests." First, he lets everyone know that Nick married Honey only for her money, not for love. Then, he tells the group that Honey was afraid to have a baby, so she killed it by taking pills. Later, George focuses his anger and contempt at Martha in a game called "Bring up the Baby." He is so angered by the fact that she tells Nick and Honey that they have a child; he tells Martha that their son is dead.

Their pattern of speech and the way they word their phrases makes it apparent to the guests that in actuality, George and Martha had no child. The child has been created in order to make up for Martha's sterility.

B. As the play progresses through its complete course and the secrets are revealed, Martha and George and Nick and Honey all become closer to each other. The fact that there are no more hidden secrets and lies between them makes them more as one. Although painful during the revealing process, an uncovered truth can obviously make a relationship grow stronger. Throughout the first two and beginning of the third act, Martha and George are at each other's throats. However, after George tells Martha that their son is "dead," they are softer and more united...