Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
George and Martha spend most of the play viciously attacking each other. Words fly like daggers across the room and almost always draw blood. Characters get to say things like, "I swear…if you existed I'd divorce you" (1.144). At times we see the softer side of their relationship, such as George's gentleness with his wife at the end of the play. These moments truly shine when placed against the dark emotional wasteland that is the bulk of the play. Overall, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? turns ferocious verbal swordplay into a funny and disturbing spectator sport.