Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Honey Character Analysis

Honey is Nick’s wife, a couple of years his junior, and is described as petite and plain. She is clearly not very intelligent, and becomes drunk very quickly, retiring to lie on the bathroom floor and peel labels off alcohol bottles. It is evident that Nick, handsome and intelligent, feels he deserves better, and he ultimately confesses to George that he only married Honey because of a hysterical pregnancy and his parents’ expectations. Honey, like Martha, it turns out, cannot have children and is distraught by her infertility. She is clearly the weakest character in the play and spends much of the play offstage.

Honey Quotes in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

The Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf quotes below are all either spoken by Honey or refer to Honey . 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:
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf published in 1983.
Act 1 Quotes

Ha, ha, ha, HA! Make the kids a drink, George. What do you want, kids? What do you want to drink, hunh?

Related Characters: Martha (speaker), George , Nick , Honey
Related Symbols: Babies, Alcohol
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Nick and Honey have arrived at George and Martha's home and Martha––notably drunk herself––instructs her husband to make their guests a drink. Her overfamiliar tone and use of the word "kids" makes her sound like a mother offering her children a drink; the fact that the drinks in question are alcoholic, and that Martha herself is already very drunk, adds a disturbing twist to her question. Throughout the play, the characters reference children and recreate family dynamics, highlighting the conspicuous absence of children in the lives of both couples. 

This passage also reveals Martha's forceful personality and manipulation of those around her, and particularly of George. Rather than politely asking or suggesting that George make the drinks, Martha aggressively demands that he does so. This in turn highlights the more passive, weaker role George takes in their marriage. The hysterical laughter that precedes this demand further emphasizes Martha's volatile and intimidating character. The characters in the play frequently laugh, though this laughter almost always contains distinct undertones of hostility, fear, or hysteria; this illustrates the theme that beneath social pleasantries lie far more menacing dynamics.   

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Act 2 Quotes

It was a hysterical pregnancy. She blew up, and then she went down.

Related Characters: Nick (speaker), Honey
Related Symbols: Babies
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Honey has left the room to be sick and Martha is tending to her; alone with George, Nick has admitted that Honey is sick often, and confessed that he married her because they thought she was pregnant. As it turns out, it was a "hysterical pregnancy," meaning Honey believed she was pregnant and even had symptoms of pregnancy, yet was never actually pregnant at all. This fact about Honey conveys the intensity of her desire for children. Indeed, the unfulfilled wish to be parents causes both couples to act in strange and delusional ways. While "hysterical pregnancy" is a recognized clinical condition, the word "hysterical" is particularly fitting in a play populated by characters who frequently behave in a crazed, delirious manner.

Just before we got married, I developed…appendicitis…or everybody thought it was appendicitis…

Related Characters: Honey (speaker), Nick
Related Symbols: Babies
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

Martha and Honey have returned, and Martha has demanded that George apologize for making Honey sick; Honey interjects that she gets sick often, and that before she was married she developed a condition that "everybody thought... was appendicitis." Because Nick has already told the real version of this story to George, the audience is aware that what actually happened to Honey was a hysterical pregnancy. This passage thus involves multiple layers of false appearances––Honey's false pregnancy, her lie that it was appendicitis, and even to some extent her marriage to Nick, which Nick has admitted took place to avoid scandal when they thought Honey was pregnant out of wedlock. Nick and Honey, whose marriage seemed respectable and harmonious at the play's outset, are revealed to lead lives consumed by secrecy and deceit in much the same way as George and Martha.

You told them! OOOOHHHH! OH, no, no, no, no! You couldn’t have told them…

Related Characters: Honey (speaker), Martha , George , Nick
Related Symbols: Babies
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

George has played a game he calls "Get the Guests," in which he has told the other characters a thinly-veiled version of the story Nick confessed of Honey's hysterical pregnancy. Having realized that Nick must have told George her secret, Honey cries out in horror, exclaiming "you couldn't have told them." Honey's non-verbal cries of "OOOOHHHH!" in this passage convey her drunken and emotional state and make her seem childish. (This impression is emphasized by the fact that George has told the story like a children's tale, with Honey shown as a mouse who "puffs up.") Unlike the three other characters, who are all accustomed to taking part in intellectual rapport, Honey is characterized as earnest and unintelligent; she is not able to understand the ironic and absurdist ways in which George and Martha speak and interprets their words literally. 

This sense of earnestness translates to her relationship with Nick, whom she can't believe has betrayed her by telling George about her false pregnancy. Nick has repeatedly told George that he finds George and Martha's fighting and open discussion of their marital problems uncomfortable and inappropriate; however, at this moment it is revealed that Nick has done the same thing to Honey. This suggests that George and Martha are having a corrupting influence on the younger couple. At the same time, the fact that Nick and Honey's marriage seems to unravel so easily implies that the issues of dishonesty, secrecy, and betrayal plague all marriages, rather than being unique to George and Martha's exceptionally tumultuous relationship. 

Get the entire Afraid of Virginia Woolf LitChart as a printable PDF.
Who s afraid of virginia woolf.pdf.medium

Honey Character Timeline in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

The timeline below shows where the character Honey 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
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
...up the door, she yells at him, “Fuck you!,” such that their guests, Nick and Honey, hear it. Nick appears uncomfortable and proposes that he and his wife shouldn’t have come.... (full context)
Academia Theme Icon
...explain that it was made by a Greek man that Martha attacked one night, when Honey interrupts him, uncomfortable with the story. Nick starts off saying, “It’s got a…” and George... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
George prepares drinks for the crew—brandy for Honey, bourbon for Nick, and (jokingly) rubbing alcohol for Martha. George recounts that when he was... (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 Honey praises Martha’s father as... (full context)
Academia Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...father expects his staff to grow old at the college. George calls to his wife. Honey tells the men that Martha is changing her dress, and then tells George that she’s... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Academia Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
George lets Honey and Nick know that Martha is according them an honor by changing her dress, and... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
George comes from behind Martha and aims a short-barreled shotgun at her head. Honey screams when George pulls the trigger, to the blossoming of a Chinese parasol from the... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Honey changes the subject by asking when George and Martha’s son is coming home. Martha says... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...a white mouse. He leaves to get some more alcohol. Martha begins to explain to Honey and Nick why her husband so hates her father, and details her adolescent life: she... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...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 running offstage. Nick and... (full context)
Act 2
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Academia Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...which Nick describes as occurring fairly frequently. This leads Nick to reveal that he married Honey because of a hysterical pregnancy: he thought she was pregnant, but she turned out not... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Academia Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...set him straight about something his wife said. Martha interrupts and announces that she and Honey are drinking coffee. George and Martha go back and forth, calling each other by different... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Academia Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
...begins in again on Nick’s marriage, and guesses that, in addition to the hysterical pregnancy, Honey has money. Nick lets on that George’s guess is correct, but adds that he and... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Martha returns, with a very drunken Honey in tow. Martha tells George to apologize to Honey for making her throw up, but... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Ambition, Success, and Failure  Theme Icon
...disappointment of George’s—that he tried to publish a book, but was prevented by Martha’s father. Honey requests some music for dancing, and George puts on Beethoven’s seventh symphony. Honey gets up... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
...that he recounts is the very story that Nick told him about his marriage to Honey. He begins by describing Nick’s present situation, and then leading into a flashback to “How... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...the end of the story, when George is describing how “the Mouse” (his name for Honey) got all puffed up, Honey stands up and declares that she doesn’t like what’s going... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Nick reenters, leaving his wife on the bathroom floor, and apologizes for Honey’s behavior. George leaves with a bucket to get ice for Honey. When George has gone,... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...Nick brushes off. George offers drinks to Nick and Martha and says that he saw Honey lying on the bathroom floor sucking her thumb, curled up “like a fetus.” (full context)
Act 3
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
...that everyone be there for it. He makes hog calls toward the hallway to get Honey, but Nick goes and gets her himself. Martha tearfully begs George not to play any... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Honey enters the room with Nick, hopping like a bunny. George begins to discuss their son,... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Academia Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Honey suddenly exclaims that she wants a child. Martha ignores her and continues, beginning in on... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
Honey, hysterical, screams for them to stop it, telling them they “can’t…do…this!” George tells Martha that... (full context)
Imperfect Marriage  Theme Icon
Appearance, Secrecy, and Truth-Telling Theme Icon
Children and Childishness Theme Icon
...going on. George explains that Martha broke their rule by mentioning him to someone else—to Honey. Martha repeats that he didn’t have to have him die, that that wasn’t needed. (full context)