Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - Nick and George

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Nick and George

With close reference to detail, discuss Albee’s dramatic presentation of Nick and George at this point in the play.

This extract, filled with tension to the very brim, shows conflict between two opposing forces, Nick and George. Albee has created these characters to represent the main opposing ideologies that had existed during the 50s and 60s – the time period the play was set in. Both of the male characters, though very much different, are in some ways similar; but it is the contrast in ideals which really sets them far apart.
It is not very common for playwrights to title their acts; however, in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, Albee gave each individual act a title to create emphasis on the situation. This particular act – Walpurgisnacht, which translates in English to the night of 30 April – is a reference to a traditional pagan ritual in which witches, spirits, and ghosts come together and spend an entire evening in a frenzy and create havoc. It perfectly symbolizes the madness – or the verbal battle - which is to come by the end of this extract; a microcosm of the verge of war.

In the beginning of this extract, Nick shares his concern about Honey to which George does not say anything to: “I … guess … she’s alright. She … really shouldn’t drink”. From here, Albee draws parallels between Honey and Martha. George’s lack of response is because Nick is reminding him of Martha’s alcoholism. He understands Martha’s reasons for why she drinks excessively - unlike Nick who probably thinks she simply does it for the joy of it. When Nick describes Honey as being “frail”, this is also a reminder to George of Martha’s inner frailty. Although Martha may seem like the toughest one in the bunch, at her core she is genuinely frail and destructive. Her frailty is concealed and numbed by the overuse of alcohol. Nick’s description of Honey being “slim-hipped” is quite ironical to George because Martha is physically...