Compare and Contrast Albee and Williams’ Exploration of Truth and Illusion in Their Plays. Essay

2162 WordsSep 9, 20149 Pages
Compare and contrast Albee and Williams’ exploration of truth and illusion in their plays. Albee’s ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ and Williams’ ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ both explore the theme of truth and illusion in great depth. Albee’s play, published in 1962, is based upon an illusion that the protagonists; George and Martha have conjured in order to keep their marriage alive. They created a fictional ‘son’ to keep their marriage together. The other couple, Nick and Honey, who are overshadowed by the boisterous relationship of George and Martha, have also built their marriage on an illusion even if they don’t realise it. Nick only married Honey as he thought she was pregnant and we are led to believe for money, not because of true love. By having all four characters involved in some illusion Albee built himself the perfect platform to explore the entitled theme. Similarly Williams’ ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, published in 1947, seems to be set in two worlds, a fantasy world, where the characters believe what they want to believe and the real world, where things aren’t as nice. The main character that illustrates this theme is that of Blanche, although it can be seen through other characters in play less prominently. “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is a play full of illusion; the audience has to question what is real and what is false on many occasions throughout the play. Albee said the title itself actually meant “Who is afraid to live life without illusion?”, and at the end of the play Martha answers “I am George, I am”. The biggest illusion in the play is that of the ‘Son’ who George and Martha have conjured up to improve their relationship and to cover up the fact that they weren’t able to have children. This ‘Son’ was a glue, that kept the two together, and with George having destroyed this illusion would the couple still remain together? There

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