You never can tell

You Never Can Tell By G.B. Shaw | Characters | Summary

You Never Can Tell character list

Mr. Crampton

Mr. Crampton is the husband of Mrs. Clandon and father of Dolly, Philip, and Gloria He is nearly sixty years old and an ill-tempered person in contrast to Mrs. Clandon. Clandon does not like the way he leads his life, and that’s why she seeks separation from him. After the separation of almost eighteen years from his wife and children, he changed his lifestyle and reconciled with his family.

Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon

Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon is the wife of Mr. Crampton and mother of Dolly, Philip, and Gloria. She is a feminist, and she believes in the modern philosophy of life. The contrast between her and her husband makes them separate for eighteen years. After her separation from her husband, she lives with her three children and teaches them her philosophy and ideas.

Gloria Clandon

Gloria Clandon is the handsome and beautiful daughter of Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon. Although her mother tries to teach her ideology to her daughters, Gloria is a passionate girl. At the end of the play, we see her fall in love with Mr. Valentine and marry him.

Dorothea (Dolly) Clandon

Dolly Clandon is the daughter of Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon and the twin sister of Philip Clandon. She is eighteen years old charming girl. At the very beginning of the play, she comes to the dentist Mr. Valentine to have her tooth extracted.

Philip Clandon

Philip Clandon is the son of Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon and the twin brother of Dolly. He is an eighteen-year-old handsome boy, and he is a well-mannered and stylish character in the play. However, Philip is also proud of how he leads his life with his mother and sisters.

Walter Boon

He is an essential character in “You Never Can Tell.” We see him as the waiter in the marine hotel. He is the father of ‘Walter Bohun’ an attorney for the queen, and Dolly calls him ‘William’ after William Shakespeare. According to him, life is an unpredictable mystery; we will never tell what will happen in the future.

Walter Bohun

Walter Bohun is the son of Walter Boon. He is a prominent barrister, and he is not ashamed of his father as a waiter. He arrives at the marine hotel on a false nose and fancy dress. For this reason, his father cannot recognize him, but he introduces the waiter Boon to Mr. Crampton as his father. He plays a significant role in reconciling the Clandon family.

Finch McComas

McComas is the former close friend and suitor of Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon. He is nearly fifty years old, and we see him as a solicitor of the Clandon family. He always tries to help Mrs. Clandon in every matter. He tries his best to bring peace between Mr. Crampton and Mrs. Clandon. Ultimately, he plays a significant role in bringing the family’s reunion.

Read more: Desire Under the Elms summary

You Never Can Tell summary

“You Never Can Tell” is an anti-romantic comedy, and we can consider it a drama of ideas. In this type of drama, a social problem is demonstrated, and also a solution is recommended. George Bernard Shaw perfectly implemented those things in his drama “You Never Can Tell.”

The play begins in the seaside resort in southern England. The teenage girl Dolly comes to a dentist named Mr. Valentine to extract her tooth. After completing her treatment, she and her twin brother Philip invite Mr. Valentine to lunch at the Marine hotel. Mr. Valentine hesitates whether he accepts the invitation because he doesn’t know who their father is. It is a shame of contemporary English society to have no father. Later on, Mrs. Lanfrey Clandon, the feminist and the authoress of social reform treatises, along with the gorgeous Gloria, come in the dentist champer. After seeing Gloria, Mr. Valentine falls in love with Gloria and accepts the invitation.

As a feminist, Mrs. Clandon leads her philosophy of life and teaches her children the same way. After almost eighteen years of separation from her husband, her children grow up and insist on her knowing the answer to who their father is, but she ignores them. A few moments later, the ill-tempered Mr. Crampton appears in the dentist’s chamber and tells him whether he can extract his teeth safely or not. Mr. Valentine assures him to do so. The twins (Dolly and Philip) immediately invite Mr. Crampton to join the lunch.

On lunch day, Mrs. Clandon and her three children meet with the solicitor McComas before lunch. Mccomas is the old friend of Mrs. Clandon and was appointed as a solicitor of Mrs. Clandon’s family. Mrs. Clandon invites him to the lunch party to tell her children about their father. After a while, McComas tells the children that Mr. Crampton is their birth father. After knowing that Crampton is his father, Philip becomes excited and shares it with Walter Boon. Later, Mr. Valentine and his landlord Mr. Crampton arrive at the marine hotel for the lunch party. Meanwhile, Walter Boon unveils Mr. Crampton is the father of the children. After experiencing this coincidence, Mr. Crampton becomes surprised and shocked as well. He is also surprised to hear that Valentine falls in love with Gloria.

Valentine tries to convince Gloria that he loves her so much, and Gloria doesn’t believe these types of flirtatious advances. Gloria wants a scientific explanation to prove Valentine’s true love as a rationalist. In reply to Gloria, Valentine explains it in terms of chemistry and the duel of sex. He says that chemical laws work in the relation between man and woman. Just as elements combine to make new compounds, men and women connect to give birth to children. When Gloria hears Valentine falls in love with many women, she rejects Valentine. However, he overcomes it by applying another method and getting the heart of Gloria.

In the last scene, the attorney Walter Bohun the son of Walter Boon, arrives at the marine hotel on a false nose and fancy dress for the fancy ball. He plays a significant role in reconciling the family and between Valentine and Gloria. At the end of the play, we see the family get moderated, and the waiter Walter Boon tells the mystery of life and utters his last words to Mr. Crampton “It’s the unexpected that always happens. You never can tell, sir: you never can tell.”

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