Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Ramsden’s office

Ramsden’s office. London workplace in which Jack Tanner works. As a bastion of ossified conservatism, the office becomes a symbol of Victorian social morality and an arena for Tanner’s ferocious assault on conventional values in act 1. Its stuffy respectability provides an obvious motive for Ann Whitefield’s display of her determination to subvert convention in pursuit of her aims.

Whitefield house

Whitefield house. Suburban home in Richmond, near London, used for an outdoor setting in act 2, that establishes the importance of the automobile for subsequent action and introduces the pragmatic outlook of the modern technological man, Henry Straker.

*Sierra Nevada

*Sierra Nevada. Spanish mountain range in which Mendoza’s comic opera bandits hide out in act 3. It evokes the atmosphere of Spain’s cultural Golden Age and inspires the “Don Juan in Hell” dream sequence, embodying Tanner’s vision of a philosophical Don Juan.


Hell. Act 3 is set either in an empty void in Hell or on Hell’s border. This austere setting presents Shaw’s new version of Hell, a forum for elegant philosophical debate by bodiless spirits outside of time.


*Granada. Province in southern Spain, where act 4 is set in the garden of a villa within sight of the famous Alhambra ruins of early Moorish occupation. Granada’s exotic ambience seems to inspire the emotional power of scenes that reveal the truth about Violet’s secret marriage and present the dramatic climax of Ann’s protracted pursuit of Tanner. The aura of Moorish Spain makes the passionate conflict of Ann and Tanner’s final scene, counterpointed by Shavian comedy, more credible.