George, Martha’s husband, an associate professor in the history department. George is more subdued than Martha, but he participates in Martha’s games, becoming especially uninhibited when drinking. George is intelligent and quick-witted, with a gift for wordplay, which he uses against both Martha and Nick. At first, George seems to have an advantage over Nick by virtue of his position at the college, but he soon finds himself threatened by Nick’s youth, attractiveness, and professional ambition. As he drinks, he reveals a streak of cruelty by humiliating Honey with the story of her false pregnancy, which Nick had confided to him earlier. Although at first he seems somewhat reticent, even browbeaten by Martha, when the conversation turns to his and Martha’s supposed son, he accuses Martha of making incestuous advances toward the boy. He then destroys his wife’s illusions in the cruelest way possible, traumatizing Martha and mortifying Nick and Honey at the same time.
Nick, a new faculty member in the biology department. Nick is young, handsome, and ambitious. He is initially willing to play along with Martha and George’s strange games because he wants to ingratiate himself with the older faculty member and particularly with the president’s daughter. His eagerness to please even extends to going to bed with Martha, practically right in front of George. Nick’s inability to satisfy Martha’s sexual demands, coupled with his insecure status at the college, leads Martha to humiliate Nick. He acquiesces until George shatters Martha’s power by revealing the truth about their imaginary son.
Honey, Nick’s young wife. Honey is very timid, especially in contrast to George and Martha. She has neurotic and psychophysiological problems. Nick married her because he thought she was pregnant, but it turned out to be a false pregnancy. Now Honey becomes ill frequently, particularly when drinking or under stress. Honey is cautious and relatively reserved, careful not to mix her drinks and reluctant to become involved with George and Martha’s games, yet fearful of offending them. Under the influence of liquor, Honey loses many of her inhibitions. Her actions are mostly childlike, in contrast to the viciousness of the others. Honey is humiliated when George reveals that Nick has confided the story of Honey’s hysterical pregnancy to him.