Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ is a powerful text that explores timeless features of public and private images in marriage. It explores some of the fundamental issues regarding the human condition, of the unconsciousness, desires and individuality. Two of the key perspectives through which the text can be interpreted are the feminist and psychological schools of thought.
Feminism is a modern perspective that is often fiercely critical of Albee’s work. In Albee’s time, women were universally regarded as the ‘weaker’ sex and had certain expectations to abide by being female. Feminie traits were thus derided in males as signs of weakness and effeminanity. George is explicitly targeted by Martha about his masculinity as he is vividly over powered by Martha which indicates a lack of strength he has as a male, he isn’t dominant in their marriage “poor Georgie-poorgie, put u-pon pie!” demonstrates that Martha ‘babies’ George making him childish which results with Georg failing to have strength and power in the relationship as he needs to be cared for. Thus a man without strong male characteristics has little appeal “I swear… if you existed I’d divorce you”. George is portrayed for most of the play, as a submissive male not dominant “alright loves whatever love wants” in addition George is very touchy with his feelings, being more of thinker than a doer “You have a poetic nature”. Rational and logical thought is view as the domain of men, whilst women are deemed to be governed by emotion, thus the greatest insult Martha can pay him is to accuse him of being like a female “what a cluck! What a cluck you are”.
Martha challenges the stereotype of females, “anywhere… furniture floor… doesn’t make any difference around this place” George negatively mocks Martha’s role as a house wife thus she is not seen to be a proper ‘lady’ as failing the norms of being a house keeper. In addition Martha is seen as merely more masculine than George and vice versa as...
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