Mrs. Warren’s Profession

by

George Bernard Shaw

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Mrs. Warren’s Profession can help.
A handsome, clever, foppish man of twenty, Frank Gardner hopes to marry a rich woman and lead a life of luxury. He has already spent all the money given to him by his father, a pompous and hypocritical clergyman whom Frank doesn’t respect. Seeing that Vivie is rich, but without knowing the source of her income, Frank hopes to seduce her into marrying him. He has a teasing, flirtatious demeanor and a love of gambling.

Frank Gardner Quotes in Mrs. Warren’s Profession

The Mrs. Warren’s Profession quotes below are all either spoken by Frank Gardner or refer to Frank Gardner. 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:
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grindl Press edition of Mrs. Warren’s Profession published in 2016.
The Author's Apology Quotes

The most vicious man in the play is not in the least a stage villain; indeed, he regards his own moral character with the sincere complacency of a hero of melodrama. The amiable devotee of romance and beauty is shewn at an age which brings out the futilization which these worships are apt to produce if they are made the staple of life instead of the sauce. The attitude of the clever young people to their elders is faithfully represented as one of pitiless ridicule and unsympathetic criticism, and forms a spectacle incredible to those who, when young, were not cleverer than their nearest elders, and painful to those sentimental parents who shrink from the cruelty of youth, which pardons nothing because it knows nothing. In short, the characters and their relations are of a kind that the routineer critic has not yet learned to place; so that their misunderstanding was a foregone conclusion.

Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1 Quotes

REV. S. [severely] Yes. I advised you to conquer your idleness and flippancy, and to work your way into an honorable profession and live on it and not upon me.
FRANK. No: thats what you thought of afterwards. What you actually said was that since I had neither brains nor money, I'd better turn my good looks to account by marrying someone with both. Well, look here. Miss Warren has brains: you can't deny that.
REV. S. Brains are not everything.
FRANK. No, of course not: theres the money—
REV. S. [interrupting him austerely] I was not thinking of money, sir. I was speaking of higher things. Social position, for instance.
FRANK. I don't care a rap about that.
REV. S. But I do, sir.
FRANK. Well, nobody wants you to marry her. Anyhow, she has what amounts to a high Cambridge degree; and she seems to have as much money as she wants.

Related Characters: Frank Gardner (speaker), Reverend Sam Gardner (speaker), Vivie Warren
Page Number: 54-55
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

MRS WARREN [reflectively] Well, Sam, I don't know. If the girl wants to get married, no good can come of keeping her unmarried.
REV. S. [astounded] But married to him!—your daughter to my son! Only think: it's impossible.
CROFTS. Of course it's impossible. Don't be a fool, Kitty.
MRS WARREN [nettled] Why not? Isn't my daughter good enough for your son?
REV. S. But surely, my dear Mrs Warren, you know the reasons—
MRS WARREN [defiantly] I know no reasons. If you know any, you can tell them to the lad, or to the girl, or to your congregation, if you like.
REV. S. [collapsing helplessly into his chair] You know very well that I couldn't tell anyone the reasons. But my boy will believe me when I tell him there are reasons.
FRANK. Quite right, Dad: he will. But has your boy's conduct ever been influenced by your reasons?

Related Characters: Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren) (speaker), Frank Gardner (speaker), Sir George Crofts (speaker), Reverend Sam Gardner (speaker), Vivie Warren
Page Number: 62-63
Explanation and Analysis:

CROFTS. Mayn't a man take an interest in a girl?
MRS WARREN. Not a man like you.
CROFTS. How old is she?
MRS WARREN. Never you mind how old she is.
CROFTS. Why do you make such a secret of it?
MRS WARREN. Because I choose.
CROFTS. Well, I'm not fifty yet; and my property is as good as it ever was—
MRS [interrupting him] Yes; because youre as stingy as youre vicious.
CROFTS [continuing] And a baronet isn't to be picked up every day. No other man in my position would put up with you for a mother-in-law. Why shouldn't she marry me?
MRS WARREN. You!
CROFTS. We three could live together quite comfortably. I'd die before her and leave her a bouncing widow with plenty of money. Why not? It's been growing in my mind all the time I've been walking with that fool inside there.
MRS WARREN [revolted] Yes; it's the sort of thing that would grow in your mind.
[He halts in his prowling; and the two look at one another, she steadfastly, with a sort of awe behind her contemptuous disgust: he stealthily, with a carnal gleam in his eye and a loose grin.]
CROFTS [suddenly becoming anxious and urgent as he sees no sign of sympathy in her] Look here, Kitty: youre a sensible woman: you needn't put on any moral airs. I’ll ask no more questions; and you need answer none. I’ll settle the whole property on her; and if you want a checque for yourself on the wedding day, you can name any figure you like—in reason.

Related Characters: Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren) (speaker), Sir George Crofts (speaker), Vivie Warren, Frank Gardner
Page Number: 68-69
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

FRANK. I give him due credit for that. [Rising and flinging down his paper] But just imagine his telling Crofts to bring the Warrens over here! He must have been ever so drunk. You know, my dear Praddy, my mother wouldn't stand Mrs Warren for a moment. Vivie mustn't come here until she's gone back to town.
PRAED. But your mother doesn't know anything about Mrs Warren, does she? [He picks up the paper and sits down to read it].
FRANK. I don't know. Her journey to town looks as if she did. Not that my mother would mind in the ordinary way: she has stuck like a brick to lots of women who had got into trouble. But they were all nice women. Thats what makes the real difference. Mrs Warren, no doubt, has her merits; but she's ever so rowdy; and my mother simply wouldn't put up with her. So—hallo! [This exclamation is provoked by the reappearance of the clergyman, who comes out of the house in haste and dismay].
REV. S. Frank: Mrs Warren and her daughter are coming across the heath with Crofts: I saw them from the study windows. What am I to say about your mother?
FRANK. Stick on your hat and go out and say how delighted you are to see them; and that Frank's in the garden; and that mother and Bessie have been called to the bedside of a sick relative, and were ever so sorry they couldn't stop; and that you hope Mrs Warren slept well; and—and—say any blessed thing except the truth, and leave the rest to Providence.

Related Characters: Frank Gardner (speaker), Praed (speaker), Reverend Sam Gardner (speaker), Vivie Warren, Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren), Mrs. Gardner
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

FRANK. Viv: theres a freemasonry among thoroughly immoral people that you know nothing of. You've too much character. That's the bond between your mother and me: that's why I know her better than youll ever know her.
VIVIE. You are wrong: you know nothing about her. If you knew the circumstances against which my mother had to struggle—
FRANK [adroitly finishing the sentence for her] I should know why she is what she is, shouldn't I? What difference would that make?
Circumstances or no circumstances, Viv, you won't be able to stand your mother.
VIVIE [very angry] Why not?
FRANK. Because she's an old wretch, Viv. If you ever put your arm around her waist in my presence again, I'll shoot myself there and then as a protest against an exhibition which revolts me.
VIVIE. Must I choose between dropping your acquaintance and dropping my mother's?
FRANK [gracefully] That would put the old lady at ever such a disadvantage. No, Viv: your infatuated little boy will have to stick to you in any case. But he's all the more anxious that you shouldn't make mistakes. It's no use, Viv: your mother's impossible. She may be a good sort; but she's a bad lot, a very bad lot.
VIVIE [hotly] Frank—! [He stands his ground. She turns away and sits down on the bench under the yew tree, struggling to recover her self-command. Then she says] Is she to be deserted by the world because she's what you call a bad lot? Has she no right to live?
FRANK. No fear of that, Viv: she won't ever be deserted. [He sits on the bench beside her].

Related Characters: Vivie Warren (speaker), Frank Gardner (speaker), Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren)
Page Number: 89-90
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4 Quotes

VIVIE. I am sure that if I had the courage I should spend the rest of my life in telling everybody—stamping and branding it into them until they all felt their part in its abomination as I feel mine. There is nothing I despise more than the wicked convention that protects these things by forbidding a woman to mention them. And yet I can't tell you. The two infamous words that describe what my mother is are ringing in my ears and struggling on my tongue; but I can't utter them: the shame of them is too horrible for me. [She buries her face in her hands. The two men, astonished, stare at one another and then at her. She raises her head again desperately and snatches a sheet of paper and a pen]. Here: let me draft you a prospectus.
FRANK. Oh, she's mad. Do you hear, Viv? mad. Come! pull yourself together.
VIVIE. You shall see. [She writes]. "Paid up capital: not less than forty thousand pounds standing in the name of Sir George Crofts, Baronet, the chief shareholder. Premises at Brussels, Ostend, Vienna, and Budapest. Managing director: Mrs Warren"; and now don't let us forget her qualifications: the two words. [She writes the words and pushes the paper to them]. There! Oh no: don't read it: don't! [She snatches it back and tears it to pieces; then seizes her head in her hands and hides her face on the table].
[Frank, who has watched the writing over her shoulder, and opened his eyes very widely at it, takes a card from his pocket; scribbles the two words on it; and silently hands it to Praed, who reads it with amazement and hides it hastily in his pocket.]

Related Characters: Vivie Warren (speaker), Frank Gardner (speaker), Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren), Praed, Sir George Crofts
Related Symbols: Brussels
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS WARREN [lapsing recklessly into her dialect] We're mother and daughter. I want my daughter. I've a right to you. Who is to care for me when I'm old? Plenty of girls have taken to me like daughters and cried at leaving me; but I let them all go because I had you to look forward to. I kept myself lonely for you. You've no right to turn on me now and refuse to do your duty as a daughter.
VIVIE [jarred and antagonized by the echo of the slums in her mother's voice] My duty as a daughter! I thought we should come to that presently. Now once for all, mother, you want a daughter and Frank wants a wife. I don't want a mother; and I don't want a husband. I have spared neither Frank nor myself in sending him about his business. Do you think I will spare you?

MRS WARREN [violently] Oh, I know the sort you are: no mercy for yourself or anyone else. I know. My experience has done that for me anyhow: I can tell the pious, canting, hard, selfish woman when I meet her. Well, keep yourself to yourself: I don't want you. But listen to this. Do you know what I would do with you if you were a baby again? aye, as sure as there's a Heaven above us.
VIVIE. Strangle me, perhaps.
MRS WARREN. No: I'd bring you up to be a real daughter to me, and not what you are now, with your pride and your prejudices and the college education you stole from me: yes, stole: deny it if you can: what was it but stealing? I'd bring you up in my own house, I would.
VIVIE [quietly] In one of your own houses.

Related Characters: Vivie Warren (speaker), Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren) (speaker), Frank Gardner
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Mrs. Warren’s Profession LitChart as a printable PDF.
Mrs. Warren’s Profession PDF

Frank Gardner Character Timeline in Mrs. Warren’s Profession

The timeline below shows where the character Frank Gardner appears in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Author's Apology
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...has never confronted the world as it really is. And the clever children Vivie and Frank have no respect for their elders, which will make children who do respect their elders... (full context)
Act 1
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...audacious young man of twenty approaches the gate and calls out to Praed. This is Frank Gardner. He explains to Praed that he is living at home after spending all his... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
When Mrs. Warren calls loudly to Praed to come in for tea, Frank is surprised and amused by this unladylike behavior. Praed calls to Mrs. Warren that he... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
As Praed and Frank are going into the house, an elderly clergyman approaches. Praed goes into tea, but Frank... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Frank says that he is taking the advice his father gave him last July after he... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Frank says that he is much better than his father was at his age. He remembers... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
As Reverend Gardner is leaving, and Frank is moving to enter the cottage, Praed and Vivie come outside. Vivie says she would... (full context)
Act 2
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
The next Act opens that night inside the cottage. Frank and Mrs. Warren enter after a walk. Mrs. Warren is tired and complains that she... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Mrs. Warren pretends to box Frank’s ears, then kisses him. She says she shouldn’t have done that, adding that it was... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...social position. Mrs. Warren says Praed is an architect, adding that Reverend Gardner is uptight. Frank tells his father that Praed built Caernarvon Castle for a duke, but winks at Mrs.... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Mrs. Warren is impatient for Vivie and Praed’s return. Frank says they will be gone for a long time, because Praed will love being on... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Crofts stands up, frowning, and says that Frank cannot marry Vivie. Mrs. Warren and Frank both ask Crofts what say he has in... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...four people can fit at the kitchen table at once and decides that she and Frank should wait to eat second. Mrs. Warren advocates for someone else to wait to eat... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Frank happily exclaims that they got rid of the older people, then asks Vivie her opinion... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Vivie asks Frank’s opinion of Mrs. Warren. Frank says that Mrs. Warren’s personality is a bit alarming and... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...check on the day of the wedding. Mrs. Warren expresses disgust. Reverend Gardner, Vivie, and Frank return from the kitchen, and an angry Crofts rushes outside. (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...was. Vivie says it was terrible, like all of Mrs. Alison’s suppers, then turns to Frank, patting his arm and talking to him in a baby voice about how he didn’t... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Reverend Gardner says he and Frank should be going, because his wife doesn’t know they have guests. Praed worries that he... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Frank tries to get Vivie to kiss him, but she refuses and goes to sit by... (full context)
Act 3
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...III opens in the garden outside of the Rectory where Reverend Gardner is the clergyman. Frank is there reading a newspaper, when his father comes out looking red-eyed. Frank says his... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Frank says that, although his mother and Praed got along very well, Reverend Gardner and Crofts... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...gone, Praed remarks how interesting it must be to write a sermon every week. Dismissively, Frank says that his father buys his sermons. Praed tells Frank that he ought to treat... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Frank continues, saying that his father must have been terribly drunk to tell Crofts to bring... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...a panic to say that he sees Mrs. Warren, Vivie, and Crofts approaching. He asks Frank what he should tell them about where Mrs. Gardner is. Frank says to say anything... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Frank says to Praed that they must get rid of Mrs. Warren somehow. He sees Vivie... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Mrs. Warren and Vivie enter the garden. Frank tells Mrs. Warren that the quiet rectory garden suits her, and she is charmed. Frank... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Vivie stays behind and tells Frank that she knew he was mocking her mother when he said the garden suited her,... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Vivie is angry. Frank says that it revolted him when Vivie put her hand around Mrs. Warren’s waist. Vivie... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Frank sees Crofts approaching and, swearing, moves away from Vivie. Crofts asks to speak to Vivie... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...but he wanted her to know he was interested, so she wouldn’t get engaged to Frank first. Vivie says her no is final. With a crafty look, Crofts says he will... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...Crofts puts a hand on the gate to stop her. Vivie rings the bell and Frank appears with his rifle. He asks Vivie if he should shoot Crofts. Vivie asks if... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Crofts says he will go, but he has one final thing to tell Frank and Vivie. He says he wants to introduce Vivie to her half-brother Frank—Vivie is Reverend... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Vivie is revolted and turns to leave. Frank asks where she is going. She yells to him that she is going to Honoria’s... (full context)
Act 4
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...sign that says FRASER AND WARREN on it. The office desk is cluttered with papers. Frank is pacing around, waiting for Vivie. She arrives and sternly asks what he is doing... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
In a pitiable tone, Frank says he wants to talk to her. Vivie says to sit down and they can... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Vivie asks what happened in Haslemere when she ran off. Frank says he told the others that she had gone to town, and they must have... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Frank tells Vivie that they should talk about what Crofts said. He says that he knows... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...that Reverend Gardner felt for Mrs. Warren when they were young. Revolted at the comparison, Frank says that they are far superior to their parents and shouldn’t be compared with them.... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Vivie asks Frank if he believes his father, and he says he believes him over Crofts. Vivie says... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
At that moment, Praed knocks on the door. Vivie tells Frank that Praed is going to Italy and has come to say goodbye. Frank says he... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...to talk to her about than the beauty of Brussels. Praed is at a loss. Frank explains that Vivie finds Praed frivolous, but Vivie snaps that he shouldn’t joke. Vivie says... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Frank says he will remain single too until Vivie changes her mind. He tells Praed to... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Vivie says she was only sentimental once in her life, by moonlight. Frank cuts her off, reminding her not to say too much to Praed. (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Vivie tells Frank that she is sure that Praed knows all about her mother. Turning to him, she... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Frank sees the words, however, and rewrites them on a paper he shows to Praed, who... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Praed tells Frank he is very disappointed in Crofts. Frank replies that now Crofts makes perfect sense to... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
There is a knock at the door. Praed goes and lets in Mrs. Warren, while Frank sits down and writes a note. Mrs. Warren is dressed in conservative garb and looks... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...scared and says perhaps she should leave Vivie to do her work. Vivie firmly tells Frank and Praed to leave her alone with her mother. They all bid one another goodbye... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...the lower-class sound of her mother’s speech. She says that she has just finished telling Frank she doesn’t want a husband, and she now tells her mother she doesn’t want a... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...relaxes and she breathes a sigh of relief. She goes to her desk and finds Frank’s note. She laughs at something clever he wrote, and says, “goodbye, Frank” aloud. Then she... (full context)