Mrs. Warren’s Profession

by

George Bernard Shaw

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An attractive and practical woman, Liz left a life of poverty to become a prostitute, later setting up a chain of brothels with her sister, Kitty Warren. Unlike her sister, she has the manners and appearance of a respectable woman, and left the business once she had earned enough money to live comfortably without working.

Liz Quotes in Mrs. Warren’s Profession

The Mrs. Warren’s Profession quotes below are all either spoken by Liz or refer to Liz. 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 notion that prostitution is created by the wickedness of Mrs Warren is as silly as the notion—prevalent, nevertheless, to some extent in Temperance circles—that drunkenness is created by the wickedness of the publican. Mrs Warren is not a whit a worse woman than the reputable daughter who cannot endure her. Her indifference to the ultimate social consequences of her means of making money, and her discovery of that means by the ordinary method of taking the line of least resistance to getting it, are too common in English society to call for any special remark. Her vitality, her thrift, her energy, her outspokenness, her wise care of her daughter, and the managing capacity which has enabled her and her sister to climb from the fried fish shop down by the Mint to the establishments of which she boasts, are all high English social virtues. Her defence of herself is so overwhelming that it provokes the St James Gazette to declare that "the tendency of the play is wholly evil" because “it contains one of the boldest and most specious defences of an immoral life for poor women that has ever been penned." Happily the St James Gazette here speaks in its haste. Mrs Warren's defence of herself is not only bold and specious, but valid and unanswerable. But it is no defence at all of the vice which she organizes. It is no defence of an immoral life to say that the alternative offered by society collectively to poor women is a miserable life, starved, overworked, fetid, ailing, ugly. Though it is quite natural and right for Mrs Warren to choose what is, according to her lights, the least immoral alternative, it is none the less infamous of society to offer such alternatives. For the alternatives offered are not morality and immorality, but two sorts of immorality.

Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

MRS WARREN [indignantly] Of course not. What sort of mother do you take me for! How could you keep your self-respect in such starvation and slavery? And whats a woman worth? whats life worth? without self-respect! Why am I independent and able to give my daughter a first-rate education, when other women that had just as good opportunities are in the gutter? Because I always knew how to respect myself and control myself. Why is Liz looked up to in a cathedral town? The same reason. Where would we be now if we'd minded the clergyman's foolishness? Scrubbing floors for one and sixpence a day and nothing to look forward to but the workhouse infirmary.

Related Characters: Vivie Warren (speaker), Kitty Warren (Mrs. Warren) (speaker), Liz
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Warren’s Profession PDF

Liz Character Timeline in Mrs. Warren’s Profession

The timeline below shows where the character Liz appears in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...herself a widow, but had four daughters from different husbands. Mrs. Warren and her sister Liz were good-looking, while their two sisters were ugly, but honest. One of her half-sisters, Jane,... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Mrs. Warren and Liz both went to a church school, until one night Liz ran away. The people at... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
...in Waterloo station, working long hours for low wages. One night when was very tired, Liz came into the bar to buy Scotch, looking elegant and well-dressed and with lots of... (full context)
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Vivie exclaims to hear about her aunt. Mrs. Warren says that Liz is a very good aunt to have: she lives respectably now and chaperones girls to... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
That night in the bar, Liz had told Mrs. Warren to come to work with her instead of wearing herself out... (full context)
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
...felt ashamed. Mrs. Warren answers that it’s expected by society to feel ashamed. She says Liz always got angry at her for talking about their work and society’s hypocrisy. Liz was... (full context)
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...sees that Vivie had thought her full of nonsense before. Mrs. Warren continues, saying that Liz always thought her full of nonsense too, and now she imagines Vivie will treat her... (full context)
Act 4
Exploitation of Women Theme Icon
Sex, Money, Marriage, Prostitution, and Incest Theme Icon
Class, Respectability, Morality, and Complicity Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...leave her business once she had made enough money to do so, like her sister Liz. Mrs. Warren says it was easy for Liz because she has the air of being... (full context)