This play centers on Mrs. Warren, who, forced by the economic realities of 19th-century London, becomes a prostitute. Later she runs several successful brothels to finance her daughter's upbringing and education. When her daughter finds out, confrontations ensue.
Mrs. Warren's Profession is regarded as one of George Bernard Shaw's most accomplished plays, though only his third. Through the characterization of Mrs. Warren, Shaw exposes the corruption and hypocrisy of the "genteel" class. As he notes in his Apology, "Mrs. Warren's defence of herself and indictment of society is the thing that most needs saying."