Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
4. Act 1 Summary and Analysis
5. Act 2 Summary and Analysis
6. Act 3 Summary and Analysis
Act One, "Fun and Games," opens at two o'clock on a Sunday morning as middle-aged couple George and Martha return home from a faculty party at a small college in the New England town of New Carthage. Over the course of the scene, as Martha bickers with George, we learn that George is a going-nowhere history professor, while Martha is the daughter of the college president. She soon informs him that she has invited a new member of the Math Department over for drinks. Martha also loudly sings, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" a joke of a song they heard at the faculty party and is angry that George doesn't laugh. Before their guests arrive, George warns her not to do "the bit about the kid." Their guests are Nick, a blond 30-year-old professor in the Biology Department, and his wife Honey. Nick and Honey are somewhat shocked at being thrown into the war zone that is Martha and George's marriage. While Honey copes by drinking brandy after Brandy, Nick attempts to insinuate himself into his hosts' good graces. Drunken Martha is shamelessly flirting with him immediately. Martha goes off to show Honey to the bathroom. While the women are gone, George bitterly suggests that Nick will take over the Biology Department and the college. When Honey returns, she mentions that she didn't know George and Martha had a son. George is furious at Martha, who has told Honey that their son, whose 21st birthday is tomorrow, will be returning home the next day. Martha, who has changed into a seductive outfit, continues shamelessly flirting with Nick and insulting George, telling a story about how she punched George when he refused to join in a boxing match with her father. George grows fed up and leaves the room. He comes back with a rifle and shocks everyone by firing it at Martha. A parasol, not a bullet, erupts from the barrel. The tension dissipates a bit and George, much to Martha's chagrin, insists on talking about their son. The two argue which has been the worse influence on the boy, and Martha proceeds with her tact of humiliation by telling Nick and Honey how George is flop who failed to take over the History Department, as she'd anticipated when they got married. Their shouting match ends when George grabs Honey and dances around with her while singing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Honey rushes off to the bathroom to be sick. Act Two, "Walpurgisnacht," opens as Martha is making coffee in the kitchen. George learns from Nick that he married Honey because she was pregnant with what ended up being a hysterical pregnancy. The added bonus is that she is rich, left money by her evangelist father. He half-jokingly confides his plan to rise to power at the college by sleeping with wives of important faculty members. George shares an anecdote of a boy, whom he says he knew in prep school, who ordered "bergin" at a gin joint with his friends. This boy had accidentally killed his mother with a shotgun, and a year later, with his learners permit in his pocket, he crashed into a tree and killed his father. Martha and Honey return. Martha is even more blatant in her flirtation with Nick. When Honey declares that she wants to do Interpretive Dance, Martha takes the opportunity to dance with Nick in a blatant lascivious manner. George gets fed up when Martha continues to insult him, suggesting that the boy who ordered "bergin" and killed his parents was George and mocking his failed attempt at publishing a novel. He tries to strangle her, but Nick pulls him off. George announces it's time for a new game. They've just finished playing Humiliate the Host, and there will be time for Hump the Hostess later. Now, it's time for Get the Guests. George toys...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document