Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  32,790 ratings  ·  680 reviews
“Twelve times a week,” answered Uta Hagen, when asked how often she’d like to play Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Like her, audiences and critics alike could not get enough of Edward Albee’s masterful play. A dark comedy, it portrays husband and wife George and Martha in a searing night of dangerous fun and games. By the evening’s end, a stunning, almost unbeara...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Signet (first published January 1st 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trevor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
Jun 28, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, theater buffs, fans of dysfunctional relationships
This is, in my opinion, the best play ever written in the 20th century. There's also a great story about how this was the first drama rejected by the Pulitzer Prize committee for "obscenity" (you may have a hard time finding the obscenity in it, though, since it's from 1962). It's basically about two married couples who hang out in the wee hours of the morning following a party on a college campus in New England, but the interesting part is the way one couple tries to screw with the other's mind...more
El
This falls under that category labelled AWKWARD SOCIAL GATHERING.

You ever been to a party where the host and hostess get totally hammered and spend the rest of the evening humiliating each other? If you haven't, I don't believe you, number one, and number two, you're a lucky bastard. It's awkward and uncomfortable and lemme tell you, it's not much better if you're the drunken host and hostess either. No one's having a good time, no matter how much liquor is consumed, keep that in mind.

The theate...more
Casey
This play makes me squirm with discomfort every time I read it. My mother raised me to be so conscious of manners that I'm practically Southern.

Even though George and Martha are just horrible, I can't help cackle at some of the insults they sling. When Martha says that George doesn't have "the stuff," my English Major heart is made happy. It's a totally perfect slam.

And who could not admire Albee's daring in using the term "monkey nipples"?
Kat Kennedy
This play is so fucked. I don't know whether it's genius or madness. Probably both.
Beth
The central theme of this play is living without pretense. It involves 4 characters (and you will hate each of them) who berate each other through three acts. People have always raved to me about it, but I must admit that I can't understand why - rather than being emotionally jarred and on-edge, I felt bored and irritated. Every character is so villianized that there is no "heart" to the play, not a single character one can relate to. It's an interesting piece of literature, but it's definitely...more
Lia Jacobson
Back and forth, back and forth, a husband and wife bicker. They bicker about each other. They bicker about their son. They bicker about the company. Back and forth, back and forth. If you like watching verbal arguments take place for hours at a time (more than hours, in book form), then this is the play novelette for you.
SPOILER:
It wasn't so much the characters that bothered me, or why they were arguing, it was just the arguing itself. It seems this entire play is based on people picking away at...more
Andriana Sakka
Διαβάζοντας κανείς το έργο αυτό αρχικά του φαίνεται παράξενο,ωμό, διεστραμένο εώς και χυδαίο θα έλεγα και αυτό όχι μόνο εξαιτίας των λέξεων-φράσεων που χρησιμοποιεί ο Άλμπι, αλλά και των σκηνών που διαδραματίζονται. Τελειώνει κανείς το έργο και ακόμα απορεί τι είδους τρέλα είναι αυτή που διακατείχε τα δύο αυτά ζευγάρια (κυρίως το πρώτο, τους οικοδεσπότες)και τι θέλει να πει αυτός ο μυστηριώδης τίτλος του "Ποιός φοβάται τη Βιρτζίνια Γουλφ" και τι σχέση έχει η Βιρτζίνια Γουλφ;
Ύστερα απο το διάβ...more
Ted Wenskus
I'm admittedly a little biased as I played Nick in a production of this, but Edward Albee is one of the truly great playwrights of the 20th century and this is one of his masterpieces. This unflinching look at living life without illusion is embodied in three acts that progress almost in real time through the course of an unforgettable evening of "fun and games." In fact, it is one of the most important evenings in these four characters' lives for reasons which I won't spoil here...


Is there a lo...more
Jasmijn
When I finished the book, I was a bit confused. Or rather, I had been expecting something big and shocking at the ending (due to the description on the back etc), but I felt this hadn't happened. I then thought I might not have understood or might have missed something, so I searched online for some information. Turned out I had understood it perfectly well all along. So the so-called "shocking" climax did not shock me at all, but just left me with a bit of a disappointed "this was it?" feeling....more
Ayeh
دیوونگی تنها پناهگاهیه که وقتی دروغ های دنیا روی سرهای کوچولومون سنگینی می کنه بهش پناه می بریم .
Yara
The first time I saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a few months ago and when I sat down in the theatre I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it is a famous play and that I thought the title was funny. After the first ten minutes or so I thought I had it all figured out: it was a comedy of manners about a loud wife and her grumpy husband. I settled in for a night of easy laughs, maybe a bit of slapstick along the way. Little did I know that by the time the first act was over, th...more
Anne Nikoline
Mar 27, 2014 Anne Nikoline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of theater, or fans of dysfunctional tales
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: read for uni
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee is a twisted play about a madness lurking in the shadows of a simple home and its family. It gradually takes its hold on these people, spreading through out to the two guests Nick and Honey who try no to get involved in George and Martha's private hell of a marriage gone wrong. It was so disturbing I felt embarrassed and awkward while reading it, and that makes it indeed a good read.

“Martha: Truth or illusion, George; you don't know the differen...more
Nicole
This book made me curious. It seems to me like I know so many Georges and Marthas. However, the Marthas are so much easier to make out in the crowd. The women who yearn for excitement and attention. They're very easy to resent, fun to blame, fine to befriend, but painful to be jealous of these dames. How they can grab a man's attention and yet be so damaged. Only,every so often, is it easy to blame the man. George is highly intelligent and highly imaginative, and is he as damaged as Martha? Or d...more
Michael Alexander
Jul 26, 2012 Michael Alexander rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone obsessed with language games or terminally depressed, the gladly unmarried
My first Albee, and definitely, definitely not my last. The level of language-play going on in this thing is completely amazing. The portrait of an aging academic couple completely entangled in each other's mental worlds but forced to hiss and kick and wrangle every minute of every day. They know each other as well as any two people could--and they need each other, in a twisted way--but it doesn't mean they like each other, dear GOD.

And on top of all of this, the awkward social occasions that Al...more
Luis
Siendo el único escenario la casa de Martha y George y habiendo solo cuatro personajes, la obra de Edward Albee es un gran ejemplo de cómo no es necesaria una gran base para desarrollar la complejidad que el ser humano es capaz de sacar a relucir.

La historia gira en torno al matrimonio protagonista en una noche en la que acogen a una pareja de invitados, con consecuencias poco previsibles que están disparadas por la particular vivencia de la vida en pareja que mantienen Martha y George y de la q...more
Farhin
Goodness, gracious, me.

Man, this play was an absolute rollercoaster.

We read this in our English Lit class to draw wider reading references for the big exam - and boy am I glad my teacher chose this play in particular.

George and Martha have been a married couple for what seems like decades - and the beginning of the play makes the audience feel the true and sweet love between their insults. They have invited two more guests - another married couple. Young, polite and not wanting to get too involv...more
Ana Maria Rînceanu
This is the most funny, blood curling couple in history. The tension in this play is incredible and the moments of tenderness mixed with disgust and fear really drain you of all energy by the end, yet surprisingly leave some hope. Don't ask me why, I find it odd too. Maybe Albee is just that good.
Arcopol Chaudhuri
I've not been much of a reader of plays, but this one was a fabulous introduction. It's divided into three acts, totalling into well over two hours. So when I say that finished reading it in close to four hours, you can imagine the pageturner this one turned out be. I'm quite a sucker for film and literature about destructive marriages, failed relationships - my love for films like Revolutionary Road, Closer, Blue Valentine are examples - and this play, about four completely messed up individual...more
Becky
It's easy to be put off by Edward Albee's masterpiece of marital discord. If Martha's "braying" isn't enough to make you squirm in your seat, the way George takes her abuse (albeit lobbing some quiet, yet damaging volleys of his own) might make you want to run screaming.

Given a chance, however, the play unfolds into much more than it seems at the beginning. As George and Martha play various "games" ("Get the Guests," anyone? Perhaps a friendly round of "Hump the Hostess?") with the young couple...more
shannon madden
Albee’s critically acclaimed play is well worth 90 minutes of your reading time. It is humorous but not light-hearted; situated in a simple setting with complex characters. Albee’s characters explore the topics of marriage, trust and hurtfulness. He asks us to consider how much stress and emotional pain a relationship can endure before it snaps.

Set in a nondescript living room in a nondescript college town, the characters in and of themselves are unremarkable but three-dimensional. In these two...more
Edward
Dec 08, 2013 Edward marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My name is Edward, and I have just finished reading act one of “who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf" by Edward Albee. I must admit that the act one is emotionally conveyed in numerous scenes. There are four main characters George, Martha, nick, and Honey. It was not preferable to pick a favorite character because it is too early in the play; however George interested me. He seems rather strange in his attitude towards Martha and the guests. Although George is a history teacher he possesses general kn...more
Jadyn Petterson-rae
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Demi
Our first impression of George and Martha is that they are a surprising and disturbing couple. Other than their inappropriate behavior towards each other, they cannot even manage to be decent around people. By the end of the first act we can deduce that their marriage is set out to be a satire on 1950's perfect American families, Albee uses George and Martha Washington (the famous duo) as a link from the real world to his book. The state of George and Martha's child seems to be unknown, they arg...more
Lina Baker
This play was, first and foremost, definitively disturbing, awkward and above all, effectively written.

Chronicling one very late evening and many many drinks, Albee portrays one married couple's inability to confront their fears, passions, and insecurities juxtaposed against a secondary couple who at first appear to be perfectly normal, though are later revealed to have dysfunctionalities all their own. Throughout the three acts of the play, Albee sets up scene after scene of verbal and physical...more
Omar
This was a really good play to read, especially because I love the games that Martha and George play with one another. At first the games are light hearted and funny. They seemed to be just teasing each other. However throughout the play secrets are revealed. Secrets from all the characters' pasts which slightly alter how the games are being played. By the end of the first act you can tell that the games are beginning to get quite serious as George was intimidated enough to break the bottle and...more
Billierosie Billierosie
It’s two in the morning. In the opening scene of Edward Albee’s WHO’ AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, George and Martha stumble home, tipsy, from a party. They bicker, in the way drunks do, about things that don’t really matter. They laugh, stupidly.
The loud snap of a door latch. Action!

Martha; “What a dump!” The play begins.

Yes, is 2am and Dionysus is on the prowl. Dionysus is alive and well, this night in New England, in the 20th century. His red gaze falls on his two old disciples, George and Marth...more
Anastasia Daria
I don't know what to say. I have been left speechless. This play has quickly risen to be one of my favourites. There isn't any way I could do this play justice so for a lack of better words I will just describe my trip through this insane world.

I was never really too sure of what was happening yet at the same time was almost completely sure I knew what was going on. This is an extremely complex and bewildering play.

The characters are all crazy and as the play continues different layers are bein...more
Brooke
Oct 08, 2007 Brooke rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: neurotic playwrights
It has been ages since I read a play...probably not since I was assigned to read them when I was a student. They are not my favorite genre to read, mostly because so much is missing for me without visual descriptions, etc. It is true, however, that in plays the story is carried along by the dialogue and the acting, and in this case the dialogue was written well enough to convey almost everything that was going on.
That being said, the story is actually rather strenuous to read, in the sense that...more
Kathy Worrell
This play was definitely not for me.

A play which consisted entirely of four people. Late one night after an office party, one young couple was invited to the house of another couple, George and Martha. All night long, George and Martha "butted the issues of their marriage with bouts of jealousy, rash insults, and twisted games to test the boundaries of each other's human emotional capacity."

It was 257 pages of one continuous argument. I couldn't wait for it to end.
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Final Book Review 1 12 Nov 29, 2013 08:36AM  
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Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream. His works are considered well-crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights su...more
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“Dashed hopes and good intentions. Good, better, best, bested.” 36 likes
“I said I was impressed, Martha. I'm beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?” 36 likes
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