Misalliance takes place at the estate of John Tarleton one summer afternoon. Tarleton, his wife and children, and various guests gather for a garden party. Tarleton's daughter, Hypatia, is engaged to Bentley Summerhays, but she expresses her dissatisfaction with the engagement right away. At the end of Act I, a plane crashes into the garden, bringing with it a pilot and a Polish acrobat, Lina, who immediately draws the attention of all the men. Another uninvited guest, the Gunner, wants to kill Tarleton to avenge his mother's unjust death. The guests banter and argue about marriage, the role of women, and social justice. Shaw called the play a debate about the social issues of the day, although he wraps his debate in witty dialogue.