Summary and Analysis
Act 1: Fun and Games:
Martha returns in a "most voluptuous" dress and begins to openly admire Nick's body and to discuss it, and at the same time, to ridicule both George's position in the college and his physique. When Martha is about to begin on a boxing story after finding out that Nick was a boxer, George leaves.
Other than the wit involved, this scene mainly shows Martha as an aggressive, seductive female, who is also enjoying playing some type of game. She varies at one moment from baby talk to vituperative language. She cuddles up to George and then throws him off balance with her insults. She belittles his position in the History Department as well as his physical abilities. Then turning from George, she openly admires Nick's fine body and there "is a rapport of some unformed sort established" between them — a rapport filled with double meanings. At this point and for some time to come, Martha has the upper hand over George: it will not be until much later in the drama that George will again gain control of the situation.