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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Mass Market Paperback – Mar 7 2006


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (March 7 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451158717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451158710
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 82 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Krichman on Nov. 18 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brilliantly vitriolic, witty, and sassy, this is one of the most engrossing and readable dramas you are likely to come across. At its most basic level, this play is so simple - just four characters, one room, and all the action taking place in the space of a few hours. But in terms of substance this is a powerfully rich and complex work of genius. The writing cuts like a sharp knife, the characters are exquisitely developed and original, and their chemistry is charged with an undeniable energy.
The characters are at odds with each other throughout the play, and yet it is difficult to takes sides with only one of them. They are all both likeable and dislikeable at the same time. George is a mean-spirited passive-aggressive with a huge chip on his shoulder, but it's impossible not to root for him as he joyfully attacks his wife, Martha, for her fondness of the bottle and various other sins. Nick's demeanor is just a tad holier-than-thou, but it is easily forgivable given the outrageous treatment he is forced to endure throughout the evening. Honey, his wife, is a ditz and a lush, but loveable in the same way as an Irish Setter. Any one of the four could easily carry the show, and together they create a powerful tension that keeps the play moving at a brisk pace.
It is easy to see why Albee's writing has earned him a Pulitzer Prize. What is surprising is that is was another, lesser-known play and not this one that he won it for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sassi Angel on Sept. 6 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This play is not for the faint of heart or for those who think it's about Virgina Woolf. I won't go into a summary of the play as many reviewers have already done. However, I will say this is definitely one of the best plays I have ever read (I read it cover to cover in under 2 hours). George and Martha remind me very much of my own parents with the exception of the drinking and the fact I'm not imaginary. It was a bit hurtful to read this play and find such a comparison to the people I love but it was refreshing. Below all the humilations and torture George and Martha place on each other through there 'games' they love each other and ultimately appear to have a healthier and happier marriage than the seemingly innocent Nick and Honey. This play is not a happy one so if your looking for a full of laughs play with happy go lucky ending look elsewhere. Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf falls along the lines of O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night or Miller's Death of a Salesman and All My Sons. Have tissues handy when you read it, see it performed live if you can, or watch the Taylor & Burton film. But above all see it LIVE!
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Considered by some to be Albee's masterpiece, Virginia Woolf presents all of the playwright's main themes in this tightly compressed play. In a mere three acts, Albee breeches social as well as physical masochism at its most malevolent while displaying its truth-revealing effects while exposing its subconscious motivations. As for other Albee-eque motifs, there is his presentation of truth verses reality, linguistics aerobics, and, as par, a heavy dose of black humor. Albee remains faithful as a master of literature in that he never lapses into didacticism even when his characters voice personal soliloquies. As an aside, the play does differ from the famous film in that the former takes place within the confides of George and Martha's household, thus keeping their guests, Nick and Honey, as metaphorical prisoners throughout the night. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the play, upon a close reading, is Albee's almost virtuoso execution of symbolism, especially Christian (comparable to Henry James). Highly recommended.
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Wow. I never thought I could like a play so much. I had to read this for a class in college, so I admit that I didn't know what I was in for. I would've never thought that I would enjoy reading a play. This is a work of art with every line having meaning and significance.
A quick summary of the story without giving too much away: This is the story about an elderly couple who seem to hate each other with a passion. They're rude, loud, offensive, and insulting. When they invite a younger couple to their house, things quickly start to get out of control, while the elderly couple use their guests as sheilds and pawns in their brutal arguements and such. The story ends with a shocking resolution that will catch you off guard.
The dialogue in this play is so beautifully written. It reads like the way people actually talk. That is why I enjoyed it so much. It also enriched the characters that much more. Edward Albee did a magnificent job of weaving a tale that seems so realistic it's as if we are there at that house on that very night. There are no minor characters; everyone is important in a very significant way. It is refreshing to be able to get to know each character and the hopes, dreams, ambitions, and the conflicts that lie within.
I really enjoyed reading this wonderfully structured play. Much so that I have already read it at least seven times. It is a very easy read. And since it is mostly dialogue, it really doesn't take long to read. You could easily finish it in a day or two if you really put your heart to it. Even if you don't enjoy reading novels, maybe this is the solution. There is no lengthy descriptions of what color the characters' eyes are or what they're wearing. Just good old dialogue that will have you hooked from the very beginning. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is an outstanding play that will forever remain a true classic in American Literature.
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