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Quotes

Quote #1

Mrs. Smith: "We've eaten well this evening. That's because we live in the suburbs of London and because our name is Smith." (2)

The Smiths "live in the suburbs of London," which may indicate that they are a solidly middle class couple. The line seems to indicate that their place in society is what has allowed them to eat so well this evening. At times the play seems to be taking aim at the middle class. The fact that Mrs. Smith goes on and on about nothing for so long could be interpreted as saying that most middle-class people fill their days with meaningless chatter.

Quote #2

Mrs. Smith: "I did not bring the bottle to the table because I did not wish to set the children a bad example. […] They must learn to be sober and temperate." (14)

Being "sober and temperate" was (and still is) a solid middle class value. Drunks and substance abusers are definitely looked down upon. Of course, this line also exposes a bit of hypocrisy. If alcohol is so bad, then why do the Smiths have any? Is it possible that the Smiths' hypocrisy represents the wider hypocrisy of the middle class as a whole?

Quote #3

Mrs. Smith: "You should not have gone out!"
Mary: "But it was you who gave me permission."
Mr. Smith: "We didn't do it on purpose." (81-83)

The Smiths definitely don't give Mary, the maid, very much respect. Throughout the play they kind of treat her like crap. Poor Mary's plight could represent the plight of many working-class people stuck in the employ of snotty middle-class types like the Smiths.

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