Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf Symbol Analysis

Virginia Woolf Symbol Icon
Virginia Woolf was an acclaimed modernist novelist of the 20th century. Her novels—Mrs. Dalloway in particular—depict family society life in all of its banality and darkness. When the characters of Albee’s play sing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” they appear to be expressing a fear of confronting their realities. The song additionally suggests that even respected professors like George and Nick might secretly be afraid of the difficulty of some of their academic subjects—such as the notoriously difficult work of Virginia Woolf—but are too ashamed to admit their fear except in a childish song.
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Virginia Woolf Symbol Timeline in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

The timeline below shows where the symbol Virginia Woolf appears in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Imperfect Marriage Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...like this, and Martha accuses George of sulking. She begins to sing, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf ? Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf…,” and asks George if he didn’t think that was funny.... (full context)
Academia Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Martha again begins singing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ,” and this time Honey joins in. They begin to discuss the night’s party, and... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...without the guts to make anybody proud of him.” George loudly sings “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ,” and then Honey joins in before announcing that she’s going to be sick and... (full context)
Act 2
Imperfect Marriage Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
George sings “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ,” and then returns with the ice bucket and says some unintelligible remark to Nick,... (full context)
Act 3
Imperfect Marriage Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
George puts his hand on Martha’s shoulder and begins singing, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf .” Martha answers that she is and George nods as the curtain falls. (full context)