Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? | Study Guide

Edward Albee

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Course Hero. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2017. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Whos-Afraid-of-Virginia-Woolf/>.

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Course Hero. (2016, July 28). Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Whos-Afraid-of-Virginia-Woolf/

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Course Hero. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed December 14, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Whos-Afraid-of-Virginia-Woolf/.

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Course Hero, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed December 14, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Whos-Afraid-of-Virginia-Woolf/.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? | Act 1, Fun and Games (Section 4) | Summary

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Summary

Honey giggles and George mocks her. Martha takes a swing at George, calls Nick and Honey "kids," and they all sit down. They get drinks; George offers Martha "rubbing alcohol." They chat and then George and Martha once more sing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with Honey joining in at the end. They discuss the party at the president's house, which George refers to as "Parnassus," and Martha states her admiration for her father. Her sniping with George continues at a moderately low, simmering temperature. George warns Martha not to talk about "you-know-what." Nick gets frustrated when George starts to attack him and decides that he and Honey will leave. George backs down and says that he and Martha are just annoying each other and there's no reason to pay any attention to their behavior.

Analysis

Martha and George refer to Nick and Honey as "kids." This seems natural because Nick and Honey are a generation younger than George and Martha. In fact, they are young enough to be George and Martha's kids, which again raises the issue of children, keeping it on the audience's mind.

Why do Nick and Honey visit George and Martha so late at night? And why do they stay, when the conversation is so unpleasant? First, Nick and Honey would be eager to visit George and Martha because of the power Martha wields as the daughter of the college president. Also, Nick and Honey want to make friends at a new place. Third, there's a sick fascination in watching George and Martha attack each other, like rubbernecking at the scene of a traffic crash. As the play progresses, Nick and Honey get increasingly involved in their hosts' bickering.

The drunker Martha gets, the more viciously she attacks George. He acknowledges what she is doing when they are talking about her father's power. Martha says that most men would "give their right arm" for the chance to marry the boss's daughter. George replies, "Alas, Martha, in reality it works out that the sacrifice is usually of a somewhat more private portion of the anatomy."

When George refers to the college president's house as "Parnassus,"a mountain in Greece that was sacred to the ancient Greek gods, he sarcastically mocks the president's power and shows off his knowledge.

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