संस्कृत विद्युतपत्रिका
















Dr. Manoj Kumar Singh

Lecturer (English)

K.R.C. College, Kharari,

Madhurapur, Darbhanga

         Illusion and reality are the major elements of religion. In the plays of Edward Albee, the structure of the play in which there is inclusion of illusion and reality is normally symbolic. In the play, The Glass Menagerie we see the world of illusion. Tom Wingfield who is both the actor and narrator in the play, confides that he presents reality in the pleasant disguise of illusion. Williams is of the opinion that various illusions of the characters in the play are their means of cope with the dreadful facts and realities of their lives.

            Illusion and reality are meticulously juxtaposed by the poetic and religious sensibilities of both Williams and Albee in their respective plays. In the play, Who Is Afraid Of Virginia Woolf there is the resilience of George and Martha's collective imagination to reinvent reality by              sub-ordinating illusion to truth. The structure of the play chronicles George and Martha's realization that their imaginary son is both kidding and killing them. But such recognition comes only after twenty one years of fabricating and nurturing their child illusion. Private mythology turns to public issue when Martha's offstage remarks to Honey about their son signals an ominous shift in her marital relationship and in the psychodynamics of the games and character's play:

      Honey   :  I didn't know until just a minute ago that you had a son.

      George :  (Wheeling, as if struck from behind) : What ?1

            Albee creates a sense of mystery regarding their son George and Martha continually allude to their son with a felt tension. It is a sort of 'nervous friction'2 between them. The audience and other characters in the play especially Nick and Honey come to know that the child is a fiction only when exorcism takes place. The identity of George's question to Honey suggests the seriousness of Martha's slip, a violation of their life-long agreement. Honey's sudden awareness of the secret of their son certifies the enormity of their illusion. The fanciful procreation of a symbolic child by George and Martha which they could never have, has grown into the bizarre 'representation of a warped, sadomasochistic relationship.'3 By breaking the unwritten. laws of the game - 'Martha unwittingly forces a   definitive confrontation regarding their grasp on Objective reality.'4 This revelation makes George feel that their private life has disintegrated into an unreal, terrifying make believe world. Distinctions between truth and illusion 'become blurred, not by the continual drinking but because of a psychotic reliance on fiction as truth'.5 Here illusion and reality are seen as the religious point of view.

            On the basis of religion, George and Martha have their imaginary thought. There is an imaginary child who is the subject of their ferocious game. Here Martha suffers from depressive illness and so did Virginia Woolf. When her house in London was bombarded by the Germans, she felt that this world was unworthy to be lived in and consequently she committed suicide by jumping into the voluptuous river.

            In 'Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf', the couple decide to give birth to an imaginary son and do not disclose this secret to anybody. They do it for their betterment but they feel that this child of imagination not only keeps them away from the world of reality but also causes mental sickness to Martha who develops a love-hate relationship with her husband and shows her vulnerability to sexual passion by getting inclined toward Nick, a young professor of Zoology in the same college of which her father is the Principal. In her rage she turns impulsive and unlocks her heart to Honey who is surprised to know about the child of illusion. She is herself scared of begetting a child. George kills the imaginary child on his twenty-first birthday. It is the child who is the Woolf in the drama. He is meticulously exorcised by none else but the father himself. Later on, their love for each other is cemented. George is successful in his effort and their is a note of reconciliation in the play. There is meticulous balance between illusion and reality to meet the desired object in the drama which appears a religious aspect of life.

            Thus, we see that Albee creates a world of illusion by his mastery on language and with the overdose of verbal cast he makes his characters lavish in the world of illusion and suddenly forces them to the world of reality It focuses on the religion which is a journey from illusion to reality.



Notes and References:

1.    Albee, 'Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'

2.    Ronald hayman, Edward Albee, (New York : Ungar, 1971), P. - 40

3.    Fosta, Hirsh, Who's Afraid of Edward Albee? (Berkeley : Creative Arts. 1978) P.-30

4.    M.C., Rowdance, Understanding Edward Albee, University of South Carolina, 1987, P.-69.

5.    Ibid, P-69.





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