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A reader reading Albee will not fail to notice tricks of language in operation a more interesting analysis is to consider how the characters themselves are aware of language of reading and being read as a text by other characters Albees plays Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women show the obsession with language and its functions both good and terrifying Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf is as much about censorship the attempts to limit speech as it is about playacting and generating through language Three Tall Women as a memory play exposes language as the primary form of discovery In both works the characters engage language in ways that may begin lightly though never without meaning Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf to begin with takes its title from a pun seemingly not a very meaningful one unless we read it as a reversal of the traditional childrens tale and acknowledge that a female has substituted for the male monster But if we accept the idea of the pun as betraying the hidden wish of words then we are thrown into a world where every verbal choice matters whether we understand it or not Indeed by entering the house with George and Martha we enter exactly this world and the word play begins instantaneously and relentlessly A faintly remembered unanchored phrase enters Marthas mind - What a dump - and she will not rest or let George rest until she locates it in time and place 3 A conflict immediately opens based on how each perceives the others mode of communication at the party from which they are returning Martha accuses George of passivity of sitting around and talking rather than mixing and George counters Do you want me to go around all night braying at everybody the way you do 7 After a few more pages of verbal back-and-forth the guests arrive thrown into the world of George and Martha in
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