Presence of Symbolism Imagery in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Presence of Symbolism Imagery in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By | June 2013
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The Presence of Baby Symbolism in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee is packed with baby imagery. Albee seems to add an image of a baby to almost every page of the play. The reason for this type of imagery is to symbolize babies, which has great importance throughout the course of the play because it connects with the characters and themes in the novel.

The direct repetition of the word “baby” becomes very apparent at the beginning of the play and stays consistent throughout. George and Martha call each other “baby” numerous times. “Let me tell you a secret, baby” (p.29) is just one of the many instances where George calls Martha “baby” and vice versa. Martha tends to use baby talk when speaking with George, especially when she’s begging him for a drink. In addition, Martha and George also like to refer to Nick and Honey as children. They treat them with an attitude as if they were little kids in their house. An example of this is when George greets Nick and Honey with “you must be our little guests” (p.20) while Martha directly says “c’mon in, kids” (p.20) to the couple. George continues to use baby imagery towards the guests, especially when he’s describing Honey on the bathroom floor. “Peaceful…so peaceful. Sound asleep…and she’s actually…sucking her thumb….rolled up like a fetus, suckling away” (p.184) demonstrates how George uses a baby-like diction when describing Honey. Honey is even described as “slim-hipped” (p.44) a few times in the play, suggesting that she can’t bear children, giving the reader an imagery of pregnancy.

Babies are one of the most dominant symbols in the play. Both couples have had pretend children in their lives. Honey had a hysterical pregnancy, giving Nick the sense of being forced into marrying her. However, Honey’s pregnancy was just made up in her mind, and the reason for that is because she truly wants a child of her own. This becomes apparent when she cries “I want a child, I want...
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