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Rudzki-Weise, Jannis

Truth, Illusion and the American Dream in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (Geheftet)

GRIN Publishing, Dezember 2010

1. Auflage. - 20 S. - Sprache: Englisch - 210x146x1 mm

ISBN: 3640771397 EAN: 9783640771394

Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Kassel, course: 20th Century British and American Drama, language: English, abstract: Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" has become one of the major works in American dramatic history (Roundane 42) and a huge career boost for Albee himself. This is not surprising as this masterpiece is considered to be revolutionary and ambitious as well as scandalous and highly controversial at the same time. The play, which has been discussed so passionately, "gives us four almost unrelievably nasty people who for something like three-and-a-half hours [...] take part in a drunken orgy of backbiting, bitchery, humiliation,verbal castration, exposure and physical mauling" (Hilfer 121). Not only wanting to entertain the audience but also including social criticism, Albee makes use of essential themes which help to make people understand their situation and to make them realize the necessity to act in order to modify society. In the course of this paper, I am going to attempt to illustrate the importance of the American Dream and to establish a connection to the topic of truth and illusion which can be understood as the basis of Albee's concept. To start with, I will exemplify different aspects of the American Dream and point out selected features of the characters that can be linked to the American Dream. In order to appreciate most of the professional criticism, it is of the utmost importance to look at the issue of truth and illusion that is predominant in many parts of the play. Examining the subject matter of illusion, I will concentrate on the imaginary son as well as the relationship between the guests Nick and Honey. In a last step, I am going to explain the issue of truth in the play by examining the killing of the imaginary son and the confession of Nick and his wife. Examining selected scenes, I will try to clarify the aspects Albee criticizes and explain the requests the author has. For many people the 'American Dream' is an ethos that grants everybody the opportunity to achieve "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"(Declaration of Independence). The myths of success and virtue seem to be a goal Americans have been striving to achieve for a long time. Dreams can be fulfilled by anybody, no matter the social background, through hard work and determination. Writing the play during the Cold War in 1962, when the world was close to a nuclear war, Albee responded to the questioning of the patriotic beliefs which was an ongoing problem in the USA.

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ISBN 3-640-77139-7

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Truth, Illusion and the American Dream in Edward Albee's

Rudzki-Weise, Jannis:
Truth, Illusion and the American Dream in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" Auflage: 1. Auflage.
Grin Publishing, 23.12.2010. 20 Seiten 21,1 x 14,0 x 0,8 cm, Taschenbuch EAN: 9783640771394 (ISBN: 3640771397)

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