“Great drama has always shown man at the limits of possibility”
In Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf Edward Albee sets out to expose the falsity of “The American Dream”. He refers to many different aspects of society such as drinking alcohol, throwing parties, measures of accomplishment and dishonesty. Albee shows his characters frustration in not being able to live up to society’s expectations. “The American Dream” as society knows it is a life lived to, or close to, perfection. In order to achieve this dream a person must have a good education, a good job and be able to raise family. Conversely Edward Albee presents the idea of the American Dream as an illusion and tries to show the corruption beneath the desirable surface.
The play is set in a New England town called New Carthage which at first seems like a reputable place to be given the academic setting. However, it is ironic because in a town where there should be high levels of success and achievement it is instead being replaced with envy and unhappiness. George says: “Musical beds is the faculty sport around here” (Albee 36). This quote is a way for Albee to show his audience that under the surface of what society perceives as a reputable University that in reality things are not as they seem. For example the University’s professors and wives are being adulterous. The quote is also said in a way by George as though this happens regularly and nobody really cares. This portrays Albee’s outlook of the American Dream, as an illusion and of people who try to perfect it by any means possible. Additionally, the name of the town itself is associated with the ancient civilization of Carthage. The Romans seized the land and then salted it in order to prevent growth in the future. Albee may have used this as a metaphor for the American Dream in which the principles it was once known for have now become lost and distorted.
The American Dream is also presented through the characters...