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Praed is the most removed from the movement of the play. He is a witness to the transgressions onstage, in some ways more like another member of the audience than a character.

Although his influence on the plot is limited, Praed's presence is necessary for understanding how the other characters develop. He is the Victorian ideal, a hopeless romantic and idealist, a reflection of Shaw's audience and their ideals. While he seems guiltless, his role as a passive observer makes him just as responsible for the world of the play's problems as Crofts and Mrs Warren.

According to the footnotes in the Broadview edition of the play, Shaw may have named this character after Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-39), "a Cambridge-educated politician and poet" (pg 88). Everything about Shaw's character - his opening description, his poetic name, his devotion to art and beauty - is in stark contrast to Vivie's harsh realism. His role as witness begins with his first interaction with Vivie, when this contrast becomes evident. With Praed and Vivie side by side, the audience is presented with two Victorian personas: The gentlemanly ideal and the radical "New Woman."

Praed enters the play prepared for a lighthearted, enjoyable holiday with his friend and her daughter. Instead, he encounters Vivie Warren and realizes that she knows nothing about Mrs Warren's true profession. Instead of insisting on telling her, however, he avoids the subject, preferring not to disrupt the calm, albeit superficial, atmosphere: Vivie: "Why wont my mother's life bear being talked about?" Praed: "Oh, you really musnt say that. Isnt it natural that I should have a certain delicacy in talking to my old friend's daughter about her behind her back? You and she will have plenty of opportunity of talking about it when she comes" (pg 94). Praed is not directly involved in any of the play's secrets, but he is perpetuating them by neglecting to bring them to light, much like Victorian society was as guilty for the practice of prostitution as any madame or client.

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Q: What kind of charcacter is Praed in Mrs Warren's Profession?
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