Women who smoked broke with the conventions for young women of the Victorian era. Vivie’s cigars, along with her fondness for whiskey, suggest that she wants to experience pleasure herself, not just provide it to others as a wife, mother, or daughter. Smoking, riding bicycles, and dressing in simple clothing were all outward symbols a cohort of early feminists used to signal their independence from society’s expectations for women and their right to enter into spheres that used to be open only to men.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Vivie’s Cigars appears in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.