Bernard Shaw's Modern Woman Term Paper by Nicky

Bernard Shaw's Modern Woman
A review of the play "Mrs. Warren's Profession" by Bernard Shaw.
# 147229 | 1,433 words | 1 source | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Mar 03, 2011 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English)

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This paper provides an account of Bernard Shaw's play "Mrs. Warren's Profession" which explores the notions revolving around the idea of a modern woman. The writer explains that although we tend to think of modern women as having similar characteristics, the play demonstrates in its characterization of Mrs. Warren and her daughter, they can be very different individuals with very different ideals. The paper describes the complications that arise and shows how Mrs. Warren's Profession allows us to see the complicated aspects of character as it becomes intertwined with morality, freedom, and individual choice.

From the Paper:

''Mrs. Warren is also a modern woman in that she found a way to make a comfortable life for herself and her daughter. She is also a modern woman in that she does not think that a woman needs to marry a man just to have a share of his money. The reality of her situation is very real and she is determined not to be penniless. When talking to Vivie, she is quick to let her know that she did not have the luxuries that Vivie grew up with and she did not get to "pick and choose" (1766) her way of life. She believes that she did well for herself in her profession considering the fact that she did not have a knack for music, acting, or writing. She exclaims that the hypocrisy of the world "makes me sick" (1678) when she considers how the world looks at and treats women. When discussing her profession with Vivie, she adds that she had to work hard to get what she had and she had to do this or else she would have become a "waster of a woman that thinks her luck will last forever" (1768), telling her that these people "have no character" and "if there's a thing I hate in a woman, it's want of character" (1768). Mrs. Warren is not just a successful businesswoman - she is actually proud of what she has done. She has not only lived a comfortable life but she has also provided Vivie with the means to advance to the kind of life she has now. Mrs. Warren did not just make money and have nothing to show for it. She was also savvy enough to continue with the business over years. At the end of the play, she tells Vivie how her lifestyle and the money obtained from it have allowed for her to have nice dresses and the "pick of all the gentlemen in Europe" (1789) at her feet. At the end of the play, she declares that she will "do wrong and nothing but wrong" (1790) from this day forward. She chastises Vivie for being so narrow-minded in her views, declaring, "Lord help the world if everybody took to doing the right thing!" (1790). She has divorced herself from the notion that what she is doing might be wrong because it is all she knows how to do. Regardless of what society thinks of her, Mrs. Warren is a modern woman because she has survived quite well and has done so without a man to boot.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Shaw, Bernard. Mrs. Warren's Profession. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. II. Christ, Carol T., ed. New York: Norton. 2006.

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