MAEVE has outgrown her husband. She has discovered Shakespeare and poetry, which she learns by heart and recites to herself. MICHAEL is intimidated by her new persona. His impoverished swearing sharply contrasts with Shakespeare's language. MAEVE wants to find a job, get out of the house. MICHAEL's pride forbids her. "I don't want people to think I can't support my family."
Each time she uses what he considers a long word he beats her. After each act of violence he is filled with remorse and she has to comfort him.
The cycle of beating and remorse seems never-ending.