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Mrs. Warren

’s Profession Essay, Research Paper Mrs. Warren’s Profession In life the struggle between what is good and necessary for the individual and the moral values placed upon people by society is constantly

’s Profession Essay, Research Paper

Mrs. Warren’s Profession

In life the struggle between what is good and necessary for the

individual and the moral values placed upon people by society is constantly

present. This is true of the characters in George Bernard Shaw’s play Mrs.

Warren’s Profession. Shaw demonstrates that doing something frowned upon

by society does not have to be an evil thing so long as it is good for the

individual.

Perhaps the most obvious example of societal morals conflicting with

individual need is the case of Mrs. Kitty Warren. Mrs. Warren is a woman

whose economic standing and lack of any professional skills forced her into

becoming a prostitute. Obviously such a profession is against the beliefs

of the society that she lives in. Not only is she not ashamed of her

occupation, she is proud of the amount of money that it, as well as

managing several houses of prostitution, has made for her. When asked of

any shame about her job by her daughter she states, “Well of course dearie,

it’s only good manners to be ashamed of it: it’s expected of a woman.” This

statement shows that the only reason that one would be ashamed of it is

because of society says that one should be. She feels that the

restrictions that society has placed on women has made it impossible for

her to pursue any other lifestyle. She demonstrates this by saying, “It’s

far better than any other employment open to [women]… It can’t be right,

Vivie, that there shouldn’t be better opportunities for women.” Shaw is

attempting to evoke sympathy for the character of Mrs. Warren by pitting

her against a society that is against her. He is quite obviously in favor

of the actions that Mrs. Warren has taken, as demonstrated by the very

reasonable rationalization for what she has done and the approving reaction

of her daughter Vivie.

While it can be seen that Shaw approves of going against societal

morals in the case of need, he is in the direct opposite opinion when it

comes to continually doing it for only the purposes of greed. This is

clearly shown when it is discovered by Vivie that Mrs. Warren, while

definitely having enough money to live on, still engages in the business of

prostitution. Describing her reasons for continuing with her profession,

Mrs. Warren says, “It means a new dress every day; it means theatres every

night … it means everything you like everything you want, everything you

can think of.” These reasons obviously do not cause the sympathy that

accompanied her reasons for starting her occupation in the first place. In

fact they begin to cause feelings of disgust that someone would do that

simply to get even more money than the fortune that they already have

amassed. It is due to the disapproval of this continuation that Mrs.

Warren is punished by not only losing the sympathy, but also gaining the

anger of her daughter.

Another example of Shaw’s disapproval for acting against societal

morals simply for the purposes of greed is shown through the character of

Frank Gardner. Frank’s main goal throughout the play is to marry Vivie in

order to gain part of the huge amount of money that is given to Vivie by

her mother. Clearly this is against the normally socially accepted reason

for marrying, and will benefit Frank. Because he is simply doing it out of

greed instead of necessity Shaw does not make create an aura of sympathy

for him. He paints him as an annoying manipulative character that is

constantly insulting his own father, a reverend, with comments such as, ”

You’re not intellectual or artistic ; are you, pater.” Throughout the play

Vivie, again acting as the representative of Shaw’s views, is constantly

blowing off his attempts at winning her affection. Finally gives up his

attempts when he realizes how her mother earns the money. He states , “I

really can’ bring myself to touch the old woman’s money now.” Vivie is

quite glad to be rid of him.

Shaw’s opinions on society against the individual are clearly outlined

in this play. Through the actions and words of the character Vivie it can

be clearly seen that he finds nothing wrong with breaking the rules placed

on people by society, providing that it is for a good reason and not simply

fro self indulgence. The conclusion could be drawn that Shaw feels that

these morals are fine in a perfect society, but since we do not live in one

they must be broken occasionally in order to attain a better life,

providing that it is done only in moderation. 10th-12th grade paper on the

play Mrs. Warren’s Profession

In life the struggle between what is good and necessary for the

individual and the moral values placed upon people by society is constantly

present. This is true of the characters in George Bernard Shaw’s play Mrs.

Warren’s Profession. Shaw demonstrates that doing something frowned upon

by society does not have to be an evil thing so long as it is good for the

individual.

Perhaps the most obvious example of societal morals conflicting with

individual need is the case of Mrs. Kitty Warren. Mrs. Warren is a woman

whose economic standing and lack of any professional skills forced her into

becoming a prostitute. Obviously such a profession is against the beliefs

of the society that she lives in. Not only is she not ashamed of her

occupation, she is proud of the amount of money that it, as well as

managing several houses of prostitution, has made for her. When asked of

any shame about her job by her daughter she states, “Well of course dearie,

it’s only good manners to be ashamed of it: it’s expected of a woman.” This

statement shows that the only reason that one would be ashamed of it is

because of society says that one should be. She feels that the

restrictions that society has placed on women has made it impossible for

her to pursue any other lifestyle. She demonstrates this by saying, “It’s

far better than any other employment open to [women]… It can’t be right,

Vivie, that there shouldn’t be better opportunities for women.” Shaw is

attempting to evoke sympathy for the character of Mrs. Warren by pitting

her against a society that is against her. He is quite obviously in favor

of the actions that Mrs. Warren has taken, as demonstrated by the very

reasonable rationalization for what she has done and the approving reaction

of her daughter Vivie.

While it can be seen that Shaw approves of going against societal

morals in the case of need, he is in the direct opposite opinion when it

comes to continually doing it for only the purposes of greed. This is

clearly shown when it is discovered by Vivie that Mrs. Warren, while

definitely having enough money to live on, still engages in the business of

prostitution. Describing her reasons for continuing with her profession,

Mrs. Warren says, “It means a new dress every day; it means theatres every

night … it means everything you like everything you want, everything you

can think of.” These reasons obviously do not cause the sympathy that

accompanied her reasons for starting her occupation in the first place. In

fact they begin to cause feelings of disgust that someone would do that

simply to get even more money than the fortune that they already have

amassed. It is due to the disapproval of this continuation that Mrs.

Warren is punished by not only losing the sympathy, but also gaining the

anger of her daughter.

Another example of Shaw’s disapproval for acting against societal

morals simply for the purposes of greed is shown through the character of

Frank Gardner. Frank’s main goal throughout the play is to marry Vivie in

order to gain part of the huge amount of money that is given to Vivie by

her mother. Clearly this is against the normally socially accepted reason

for marrying, and will benefit Frank. Because he is simply doing it out of

greed instead of necessity Shaw does not make create an aura of sympathy

for him. He paints him as an annoying manipulative character that is

constantly insulting his own father, a reverend, with comments such as, ”

You’re not intellectual or artistic ; are you, pater.” Throughout the play

Vivie, again acting as the representative of Shaw’s views, is constantly

blowing off his attempts at winning her affection. Finally gives up his

attempts when he realizes how her mother earns the money. He states , “I

really can’ bring myself to touch the old woman’s money now.” Vivie is

quite glad to be rid of him.

Shaw’s opinions on society against the individual are clearly outlined

in this play. Through the actions and words of the character Vivie it can

be clearly seen that he finds nothing wrong with breaking the rules placed

on people by society, providing that it is for a good reason and not simply

fro self indulgence. The conclusion could be drawn that Shaw feels that

these morals are fine in a perfect society, but since we do not live in one

they must be broken occasionally in order to attain a better life,

providing that it is done only in moderation.

Written by: Manny Martinez

337

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