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Extra info for Edward Albee’s Whos’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
You’ll learn something about Martha’s father in the third act that will help you decide if this theory is true. NOTE: Martha’s reference to an “albatross” alludes to the long poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). In the poem an albatross is a symbol of bad luck, and ultimately of death. Martha’s allusion may be a subconscious comment on her own self-image as a burden to her father. ” The suggestion here is that Martha and George once loved each other. Are there hints that they still do?
But you’re seeing patterns that are important to the play. Martha tends to bully George, and he accepts her behavior with weary resignation. Also, the play opens with Martha’s “Jesus H. ” This may seem like a casual profanity, but it’s the first of many allusions that point to the play’s theme of religion. Now Martha has a surprise for George. She has invited another couple to join them for a drink. ” As you read this exchange about the guests, notice George’s reaction. He’s not surprised that the male guest is attractive.
Is Martha meant to represent precivilization, a life force that is more instinct than reason? Or does this aspect suggest that she demonstrates a race that God has abandoned because He has been forgotten by them? Readers don’t fully agree on the role of religion in this play, but allusions to religious rituals and concepts are so frequent they can’t be ignored. Many interpretations are possible, and Albee himself has said he often uses more religious symbolism in his plays than he’s aware of. Perhaps the sometimes bewildering array of religious images is meant to suggest spiritual confusion in the modern age.