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"Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?" 'what This Play Demonstrates Is That Power Ultimately Lies Neither In Physical Strength Nor In Emotional Pressure,But In Communication'.To What Extent Do You Agree?

1974 words - 8 pages

I agree to a large extent with this statement since the majority of emotional pressure on characters is caused by communication, and hardly any power is demonstrated by sheer physical strength and attributes in this play.The three characters that power fluctuates to and from within the play are George, Nick and Martha. Honey is the frail, weak and innocent character of the play since most of the time throughout she's drunk and throwing up in the bathroom. The only possible time she seems to reflect any authority is over Nick when she finds out he told George their secret as well as other truths about their marriage.To start off with, most of the power lying in physical strength comes from Nick, who's presented with a 'pretty good' and 'firm body', and who works out. However, he's proved impotent in bed with Martha, reflecting that he may think he's in control but is not, as well as a vulnerable side to him, 'You're certainly a flop in some departments.' Martha also mentions that he has the 'potential' but not 'performance'. This is ironic, since Nick may have the body and health to appear as powerful, but in this play compared to George and Martha he is nothing. Since Honey doesn't seem to possess any form of real power in the play, she is portrayed as physically feeble. More or less of the rest of the physical power is shown through George breaking the bottle and attacking Martha, as shown by the stage directions, 'Grabs her by the throat. They struggle.'One of the difficulties George and Martha experience in their marriage is George's apparent lack of success at his job - this is where the foundation of all their arguments seems to stem from. Martha defines herself through her 'Daddy', who is in fact the president of the college both George and Nick work for. She only married George as she believed he had the potential to become head of the history department and eventually replace her father. The audience realises Martha never has considered taking over the University. She felt instead she had to marry someone to do it for her i.e. George.Her biggest disappointment comes from George's failure to fulfil this, and hence she uses this throughout the play as a tool for defence against George to regain some of her power and significance back. Albee shows the power of George's failure through his cynical disgust with young, ambitious Nick. As George communicates with Nick in an empowering and intimidating mannerly fashion, he is creating emotional pressure on him.George sustains his power by attacking Nick's profession and genetic engineering - he's afraid of artificially changing the way people are supposed to turn out. George also feels like a failure, having lost his position as the head of the history department. Initially, George was afraid of Nick. But as he peels the layers away from Nick's golden-boy finish, as it were, he reveals a great number of faults and fears, such as the admission of marrying Honey due to her pregnancy and money. In...

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