George Bernard Shaw, a well-known English play-wright, was born in Ireland in 1856. He was the son of a clerk and had to begin working at an early age. At the age of twenty he moved to London where he became a journalist.
The play “Widowers’ Houses” shows the egoism and hypocrisy of some businessmen who got their profits from the London slums where the poorest people lived.
While travelling in Germany Harry Trench, a young English doctor, got acquainted with Mr Sartorius, a respectable-looking gentleman, and his daughter Blanche. The young people fell in love with each other and were going to get married. Trench knew that Sartorius was rich, but he did not know what kind of property he had. He learned about it from a conversation with Lickcheese, Sartorius’ rent collector. It turned out that Sartorius was the owner of some tenements in the London slums, and that all the property he had was built by getting money out of the poor people who lived there. Trench was greatly shocked. He did not want to take money from Blanche’s father. But Blanche said she could not live on the small income Trench had. They had a quarrel, and Trench left the house. After some time Trench learned that the land on which Sartorius’ houses were built belonged to Trench’s aunt and that he himself was living on the money got in the same way. Everything comes out “all right” in the end: Trench marries Blanche and becomes a partner in Sartorius’ business. The author shows that in fact Trench is no better than Sartorius, Lickcheese and the like.