Justify the title of the play You Never Can Tell

Question: Justify the title of the play You Never Can Tell


The title is an unavoidable or essential thing in every literary work. The title of Shaw’s play “You Never Can Tell” expresses the moral message that we never can tell what will happen in the future. This title provides the clue to all the characters and incidents of the story and reveals the philosophy of life and society.

Uncertainty of future

Uncertainty of the future is the most important message of the play. From the title, we get this message that we never can tell what will happen in the future. In the play, Mr. Crampton does not know that he will meet his Children and family. On the other hand, Valentine also nothing knows what will happen at the lunch party at the Marine Hotel? So, the waiter, Walter Boon, tells Mr. Crampton about the mystery of life.

“It’s the unexpected that always happens, isn’t it? You never can tell, sir: you never can tell.”

Love crosses ideology

We can notice that Mrs. Clandon teaches her children her own ideas and morality. She tries to make Gloria a lady who has no interest in love and marriage but she fails because Gloria disobeys her mother’s advice and loves Valentine, old fashioned person. Here the message of the drama is that young men and women at the point of marrying regard marriage as a source of dread but after all, marriage is not so unhappy and uncomfortable as they think.

More Notes: Modern Drama

Humour and satire

Shaw satirizes the ideology of Victorian society. When Mrs. Clandon leaves her husband, Mr. Crampton, she threats to her husband that she will teach her children her own philosophy and ideas. But she fails because her daughter, Gloria disobeys her ideal and falls in love with Valentine. None can predict the future of things in life. The most unexpected things always happen in life. He also satirizes Victorian modern relationships and feminists. Shaw reveals that man cannot live without family. After a long gap of eighteen years, when Mrs. Clandon meets her husband, her character begins to change and she wants feelings for her husband. On the other hand, her husband, Mr. Crampton passes a lonely life without his wife and children. At last, they get reconciled. Through their reconciliation, Shaw means to say that, family life must be based on wisdom and understanding, not emotion.

The unpredictable urge of life force

Shaw’s displays the unpredictable urge of life force. In the play, Valentine is a struggling dentist who lives in the midst of realities and faces them without any illusion. Valentine is anti-romantic in his attitude towards love but when he sees Gloria instantly he feels that oxygen is running in his blood. On the other hand, Gloria is taught unromantic and unconventional education by her mother. She thinks that love is the sentimentality of romance and is an enemy of marriage. When Valentine expresses his interest in Gloria, Gloria says that she has no intention of getting married. But with the unpredictable urge of life force, they fall in love with each other.


  1. Leave for today not for tomorrow:
  2. Shaw’s philosophy of life and society:


From the above discussion, we can undoubtedly assert that none can know what will happen in the future. Shaw expresses that life is a grand mystery and an enigma. Thus, it is proved that the title of the play is congenial.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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