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Tracy Lett's dark comedy play August: Osage County is about a family dysfunction as a result of more than sufficient exposure to toxic aspects such as drug addiction, alcohol abuse, verbal abuse, infidelity, and overall enmeshment.
The play opens in the prologue with the character of Beverly Weston a former famous poet who is the husband of Violet, a cancer patient with a severely addictive personality, who abuses opiates and sedatives. Beverly is also an alcoholic and Being that he needs help with his wife, he hires a housekeeper that could also take care of it when he is not there.
From the beginning we experience the frustration of Beverly. The fact that his wife will not get help, his constant obligations, and his little escape are not only obstacles that are ever-present in his life, but in the lives of most every character in the play.
Beverly and Violet have what is called a toxic and enabling relationship where they both push each other's buttons, yet, none acknowledge the problem for what it really is.
This is part of the reason why Beverly commits suicide: Aparently, Beverly had checked into a motel where he must have drank a lot. As he is already an alcoholic, it would take twice as much as the usual "dose" for Beverly to truly become intoxicated. Given that he has a secret romance with Mattie Fae, chances are that he was with her prior to his sudden boat trip. His boat was found and then the body of Beverly was found drowned. It is presumed that the entire thing was very well-known by Violet, who refused to reach out to her husband and call him during the time that he had been staying at the hotel. Her not calling him may have prompted his sudden fit. Hence, Violet's lack of self control led Beverly to lose control of himself.
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