August: Osage County

by

Tracy Letts

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Beverly Weston Character Analysis

The patriarch of the Weston family. Beverly appears in only one scene—the play’s prologue. Even after his disappearance and death, however, Beverly’s presence is palpable throughout the play and reflected in his family’s unraveling in the wake of his departure from it. A writer and teacher whose first book of poems won him critical acclaim and a degree of fame in the 1960s, Beverly is grizzled and jaded at the start of the play. He is also a self-professed alcoholic who has decided to stop trying to quit drinking and instead devote himself to it fully. He hires Johnna Monevata to care for him and his wife Violet, who have descended deeper and deeper into their respective addictions to alcohol and pills. Beverly’s escape from his familial role through suicide seems bleak at first, but as the dysfunction and decay within the Weston family becomes more evident, his decision to take his leave of the clan forever—through the only guarantee that he will not be dragged back in—takes on the sheen of heroism.

Beverly Weston Quotes in August: Osage County

The August: Osage County quotes below are all either spoken by Beverly Weston or refer to Beverly Weston. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theatre Communications Group edition of August: Osage County published in 2008.
Prologue Quotes

BEVERLY: The facts are: My wife takes pills and I drink. And these facts have over time made burdensome the maintenance of traditional American routine: paying of bills, purchase of goods, cleaning of clothes or carpets or crappers. Rather than once more assume the mantle of guilt … vow abstinence with my fingers crossed in the queasy hope of righting our ship, I’ve chosen to turn my life over to a Higher Power … and join the ranks of the Hiring Class.

Related Characters: Beverly Weston (speaker), Violet Weston, Johnna Monevata
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

VIOLET: [Beverly] just told me he’s disappointed in you because you settled.

BARBARA: Is that supposed to be a comment on Bill? Daddy never said anything like that to you—

VIOLET: Your father thought you had talent, as a writer.

BARBARA: If he thought that, and I doubt he did, he was wrong. Anyway, what difference does it make? It’s my life. I can do what I want. So he was disappointed in me because I settled for a beautiful family and a teaching career, is that what you’re saying? What a load of absolute horseshit.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston, Bill Fordham
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

VIOLET: I’m not hooked on anything.

BARBARA: I don’t know if you are or not, I’m just saying I won’t go—

VIOLET: I’m not. I’m in pain.

BARBARA: Because of your mouth.

VIOLET: Yes, because my mouth burns from the chemotheeeahh.

BARBARA: Are you in a lot of pain?

VIOLET: (Starting to cry.) Yes, I’m in pain. I have got... gotten cancer. In my mouth. And it burns like a … bullshit. And Beverly’s disappeared and you’re yelling at me.

BARBARA: I’m not yelling at you.

VIOLET: You couldn’t come home when I got cancer but as soon as Beverly disappeared you rushed back—

BARBARA: I’m sorry. I … you’re right. I’m sorry. (Violet cries. Barbara kneels in front of her, takes her hand.) You know where I think he is? I think he got some whiskey…a carton of cigarettes, couple of good spy novels… aannnd I think he got out on the boat, steered it to a nice spot, somewhere in the shade, close to shore…and he’s fishing, and reading, and drinking, and if the mood strikes him, maybe even writing a little. I think he’s safe. And I think he’ll walk through that door…any time.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 33-34
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

BILL: Barbara, please, we have enough on our hands with your parents right now. Let’s not revisit all this.

BARBARA: Revisit, when did we visit this to begin with? You pulled the rug out from under me. I still don’t know what happened. Do I bore you, intimidate you, disgust you? Is this just about the pleasures of young flesh, teenage pussy? I really need to know.

BILL: You need to know now? You want to have this discussion with Beverly missing, and your mother crazy as a loon, and our daughter twenty feet away? Do you really want to do this now? […] This discussion deserves our care. And patience. We’ll both be in a better frame of mind to talk about this once your father’s come home.

BARBARA: My father’s dead, Bill.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Bill Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston, Jean Fordham
Page Number: 39-40
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

BARBARA: Aren’t you angry with him?

IVY: No. He’s accountable to no one but himself. If he’s better off now, and I don’t doubt he is, who are we to begrudge him that?

BARBARA: His daughters.

KAREN: Yeah—

BARBARA: And I’m fucking furious. The selfish son-of-a-bitch, his silence, his melancholy … he could have, for me, for us, for all of us, he could have helped us, included us, talked to us.

IVY: You might not have liked what you heard. What if the truth of the matter is that Beverly Weston never liked you? That he never liked any of us, never had any special feeling of any kind for his children?

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker), Karen Weston (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

CHARLIE: I don’t understand this meanness. I look at you and your sister and the way you talk to people and I don’t understand it. I just can’t understand why folks can’t be respectful of one another. I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. My family didn’t treat each other that way.

MATTIE FAE: Well maybe that’s because your family is a—

CHARLIE: You had better not say anything about my family right now. I mean it. We buried a man today I loved very much. And whatever faults he may have had, he was a good, kind, decent person. And to hear you tear into your own son on a day like today dishonors Beverly’s memory. We’ve been married for thirty-eight years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But if you can’t find a generous place in your heart for your own son, we’re not going to make it to thirty-nine.

Related Characters: Mattie Fae Aiken (speaker), Charlie Aiken (speaker), Beverly Weston, Little Charles Aiken
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

BARBARA: One of the last times I spoke with my father, we were talking about … I don’t know, the state of the world, something … and he said, “You know, this country was always pretty much a whorehouse, but at least it used to have some promise. Now it’s just a shithole.” And I think now maybe he was talking about something else, something more specific, something more personal to him … this house? This family? His marriage? Himself? I don’t know. But there was something sad in his voice—or no, not sad, he always sounded sad—something more hopeless than that. As if it had already happened. As if whatever was disappearing had already disappeared. As if it was too late. As if it was already over. And no one saw it go. This country, this experiment, America, this hubris: what a lament, if no one saw it go. Here today, gone tomorrow. (Beat.) Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston, Johnna Monevata
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

VIOLET. You had better understand this, you smug little ingrate, there is at least one reason Beverly killed himself and that's you. Think there’s any way he would’ve done what he did if you were still here? No, just him and me, here in this house, in the dark, left to just ourselves, abandoned, wasted lifetimes devoted to your care and comfort. So stick that knife of judgment in me, go ahead, but make no mistake, his blood is just as much on your hands as it is on mine. (No response. Violet enters the study. Barbara follows.) He did this, though; this was his doing, nor ours. Can you imagine anything more cruel, to make me responsible? And why, just to weaken me, just to make me prove my character? So no, I waited, I waited so I could get my hands on that safety deposit box, but I would have waited anyway. You want to show who's stronger Bev? Nobody is stronger than me, goddamn it. When nothing is left, when everything is gone and disappeared, I'll be here. Who’s stronger now, you son-of-a-bitch?!

BARBARA. No, you're right, Mom. You're the strong one. (Barbara kisses her mother… exits the study, returns to the living room.)

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:

VIOLET. Barbara? (Barbara grabs her purse, digs out rental car keys.) Barbara? (Barbara stands, listens to her mother.) Barbara, please. (Barbara exits the house.) Please, Barbara. Please. (Violet shuffles into the living room.) Barbara? You in here? (She crosses to the dining room.) Ivy? Ivy, you here? Barb? (She crosses to the kitchen.) Barb? Ivy? (She turns in a circle, disoriented, panicked. She crosses to the study.) Bev? (She reenters the living room, stumbles to the stereo, puts on Clapton ... stares at the turntable as the album spins ... attacks the record player, rakes the needle across the album. She looks around, terrified, disoriented.)

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Beverly Weston, Barbara Fordham, Ivy Weston
Related Symbols: “Lay Down, Sally”
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire August: Osage County LitChart as a printable PDF.
August: Osage County PDF

Beverly Weston Character Timeline in August: Osage County

The timeline below shows where the character Beverly Weston appears in August: Osage County. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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In a large, old country house in Pawhuska, Oklahoma—sixty miles northwest of Tulsa—Beverly Weston sits in his office. He is drunk, and he nurses a glass of whiskey... (full context)
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Elsewhere in the house, Beverly’s wife Violet can be heard muttering, cursing, and stumbling around. Off of Johnna’s confused look,... (full context)
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Beverly notices Johnna sweating, and offers her a handkerchief to wipe her brow. He apologizes for... (full context)
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...questions of Johnna, calling attention to Johnna’s Native heritage. She is clearly very high. When Beverly calmly suggests Violet go back to bed, she explodes violently, telling him to “fuck a... (full context)
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After Violet exits, Beverly reminds Johnna that he has only called her because Violet’s doctor, Dr. Burke, specifically recommended... (full context)
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Beverly tells Johnna that he himself needs very little help or attention—the bulk of the job... (full context)
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Beverly takes a long gulp of his drink and tells Johnna that Violet is in denial... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
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Ivy, Mattie Fae, and Charlie sit in the living room. Ivy is Beverly and Violet’s daughter; Mattie Fae is Violet’s sister, and Charlie is Mattie Fae’s husband. Mattie... (full context)
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...she believes her parents have stopped trying to repair their marriage. Mattie Fae adds that Beverly is a complicated man. Charlie compares Beverly’s seriousness to that of Little Charlies—his and Mattie... (full context)
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...which of her parents began the practice, but she admits that she can’t really see Beverly as having been the one to take the initiative. Mattie Fae begins to peel some... (full context)
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...who says that they have checked all the hospitals but have found no sign of Beverly. Additionally, Beverly’s boat is missing. Though some boats have been stolen recently and the sheriff... (full context)
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...living room, and asks them to help her with paperwork which, it’s implied, pertains to Beverly’s will. Barbara tells Violet that they can get to it later, but Violet seems intent... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...and eating pie. Violet is filling the two of them in on the circumstances of Beverly’s disappearance. According to her, he left the previous Saturday morning and did not return—he has... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet why Violet was concerned about the box—Violet reveals that she and Beverly had an arrangement that if something ever happened to one of them, the other would... (full context)
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Bill asks if there was any trigger or catalyst for Beverly’s departure, but Violet says that there wasn’t. Barbara sarcastically applauds her “good old unfathomable dad.”... (full context)
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...calls often. Violet, her speech becoming more and more labored, tells Barbara that she broke Beverly’s heart when she moved away to Colorado. Violet tells Barbara that she was always Beverly’s... (full context)
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Violet tells Barbara that Beverly’s “blessing” was false—behind her back, Beverly told Violet that he was disappointed in Barbara for... (full context)
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...complaining of the awful pain in her mouth, and lamenting that Barbara came home when Beverly was in danger but did not even think about coming when Violet was first diagnosed... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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...Bill’s “room.” Bill comes in from the study, carrying a thin book—a hardback edition of Beverly’s most famous book. Bill remarks on how cool it is to find a hardback version,... (full context)
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...the discussion deserves their care. They would be better served having it, he says, after Beverly returns home. Barbara tells Bill that her father is dead, and then gets into bed... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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...Johnna, and Jean that he has some bad news for them. The department has found Beverly’s body—he is dead. Barbara cries and collapses to the floor. Johnna comforts her. (full context)
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Gilbeau reveals that a few hours ago, lake patrol called to say that Beverly’s boat had been found washed up on a sandbar. They’d planned to dredge the lake,... (full context)
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Bill asks Gilbeau what he thinks happened—whether Beverly’s death was an accident or a suicide. Gilbeau admits that he guesses it was suicide,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...the corner of the dining room. It is three o’ clock in the afternoon, and Beverly Weston has just been buried. Violet is standing in the study in a black dress.... (full context)
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...wearing a suit to the funeral. When the women find a picture of Violet and Beverly in New York City on Beverly’s first book tour, Mattie Fae remarks that her son,... (full context)
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...set his alarm but says that the power must have gone out. Charles worries that Uncle Bev ’s spirit will be disappointed in him for missing the event. Charlie reassures Little Charles... (full context)
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...to Jean, but she says she doesn’t eat meat. Violet enters with a picture of Beverly, which she places on the sideboard before taking her seat. Remarking upon the fact that... (full context)
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Violet tells Barbara to say grace in Beverly’s absence, but Barbara insists that Charlie, now the family’s patriarch, should be the one to... (full context)
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...that it was a nice funeral, but Violet insists there was too much talk about Beverly’s poetry and teaching. She tells a vile story about Beverly soiling himself at a university... (full context)
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After an awkward silence, Violet asks Bill if he has found any “hidden treasure” in Beverly’s office. Bill reveals that he found out the Beverly appeared to be working on some... (full context)
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...[her],” stating that no one slips anything by her. She reveals that she herself and Beverly split a couple times, and cruelly tells Barbara that there’s just no competing with a... (full context)
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...felt pain,” but that Barbara cannot imagine the pain of Violet’s own childhood, or of Beverly’s. She reveals that Beverly, from the ages of four to ten, lived with his family... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Barbara tells Ivy that the other day, Violet told her she was Beverly’s favorite. Ivy says that’s not true—Ivy herself was Beverly’s favorite, and Barbara is Violet’s favorite.... (full context)
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Karen, taking a stab at Ivy, tells Ivy that she must be taking Beverly’s suicide “kind of personally,” as his favorite. Ivy coolly says that Beverly killed himself for... (full context)
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...day like today—a day when their family buried a man whom Charlie “loved very much”—dishonors Beverly’s memory. Charlie warns Mattie Fae that if she “can’t find a generous place” in her... (full context)
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...Little Charles is not Barbara and Ivy’s cousin, but rather their half-brother. Little Charles is Beverly’s child. Barbara asks Mattie Fae if she’s sure, and Mattie Fae says she is. Barbara... (full context)
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Barbara asks if Beverly knew that Little Charles was his, and Mattie Fae admits that he did. Barbara asks... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Barbara and Johnna sit in the study, in the same positions that Beverly and Johnna sat in during the Prologue. Barbara is drunk, and nurses a glass of... (full context)
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Barbara finishes her whiskey and asks what Beverly and Johnna talked about. Johnna says that Beverly talked a lot about his daughters, and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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...from the woman who runs a local motel, the Country Squire. When the woman saw Beverly Weston’s picture in the paper along with his obituary, she recognized him as someone who... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...to listen to Violet, but Violet keeps talking. She reveals she knew the whole time Beverly and Mattie Fae were having an affair, and says that Beverly “tore himself up” over... (full context)
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Barbara expresses her surprise at the fact that Violet always knew about Mattie Fae and Beverly. Violet says that though she’s never told either of them she knew about it, Beverly... (full context)
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...motel.” Violet admits to calling the Country Squire Motel, but not getting a hold of Beverly—she assumed it was too late, and he’d checked out. She called the motel Monday, after... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet how she knew where Beverly was, and Violet answers blithely that Beverly left a note saying he could be reached... (full context)
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Barbara asks if Beverly’s note said, or implied, that he was planning on killing himself. Violet doesn’t answer at... (full context)
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Violet calls Barbara a “smug little ingrate” and tells her that one of the reasons Beverly killed himself was Barbara. She tells Barbara that Beverly never would have killed himself if... (full context)
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Violet goes into the study, muttering about how Beverly did “this” to weaken her, and to make her prove her character. She reveals that... (full context)
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...around, disoriented, trying to find her daughter. She starts calling for Ivy, too, and then Beverly. She winds up in the living room, where she puts on the Eric Clapton record... (full context)