Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

by Edward Albee

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By the end of the play, who admits to being afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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In the last line of the play, George says, ironically, "I am, Martha, I am", by which Albee dramatizes the codenouement final resolution between him and Martha, a shouting match built on mutual fear of each other's ego.  The title is a play on words, but the fact of Virginia Wolff's reputation as a strong feminist has formed the center of most scholarly interpretation of the play.  Is this a play about masculine vs. feminine energy?  Are the characters symbolic of Man and Woman in general, or is the play a set of full-length portraits of specific characters? Albee is a modern playwright, not directly connected with the realism of Ibsen or Chekhov, but rather experimenting with extreme manifestations of familial conflict--what is now called a dysfunctional family. The theme of dysfunctional family was a modern one. Arthur Kopit, a contemporary of Albee's, wrote "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma's hung you in the closet and I'm feeling so sad."

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