Professor Yves Saint-Pierre
The Play: Page, Stage, Screen
April 9th, 2013
The Imaginary Child in ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf’
Albert Einstein once said “imagination is more important than knowledge”, however it is important to keep reality and imagination separate. In the play ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ by Edward Albee, it is discovered what happens when a couple mixes their reality with illusion. Through a long night of drinking and chatting with their new neighbors, George and Martha learn the monstrous outcome of their mistake in intertwining their illusions into their reality. Throughout the night Nick and Honey, the guests, discover the secret of George and Martha’s son, which provoked a series of ongoing arguments and blaming between the ‘mother’ and ‘father’. In the end, it becomes apparent that their child does not exist and was a mere illusion. George and Martha's child was a key element in keeping their marriage alive as they used it as a figurative punching bag: the child was a personification of their marriage. Without it, they would have simply attacked each other and their relationship would have perished. Instead, they relied on a happy illusion to distract them and keep them in a fake happiness. Throughout the play, the two characters try to protect their own made up reality by destroying each other’s. They created said illusion due to the fact that they were unable to have children; however the figment of imagination provided the two a source of blame for their lousy relationship. Finally, George decides to kill off the imaginary character as to move on from their fake world and come back to reality. The fictional child stemmed from the desire for a childhood that they themselves never had, and driven by the fact that the couple couldn’t have kids, “George: Yes. Martha doesn’t have pregnancies at all” (P.46). As their story collapses on itself through lies piled on top of lies, George brings their child’s...