Mrs. Warrens Profession Essay, Research Paper
Mrs.Warren’s Profession by:Andrew Mclatchie
Essay Topic: Shaw’s perception of a thoroughly modern woman as revealed in the play.
Shaw’s perception of a modern woman is completely different from what was expected at the time. Vivie is his instrument for portraying this fact. He portrayed Vivie as someone who
has a strong business and work ethic, who is unintrested in the capital gains of marriage and as being in control of her emotions. In this time period a woman with these qualities would be looked apon as “not proper.”
Vivie shows her clear cut business attitude while talking to Praed in act one about tieing with the third wrangler. One might think this would be a great achievement for a woman in this time period but Vivie saw it as only a business transaction. She said she was only trying to go for fourth wrangler, which she was being paid for, but accidentally scored higher. To further my point, she said if she wrote it again she would demand more money for her efforts. Also, Vivie explains her goals in life to Praed as wanting to get a job in the city making calculations while secretly studying law. She also plans to “keep one eye on the stock market.” This confirms her business like approach to life and her confidence in her self.
This confidence probably explains why she did not have traditional views on marriage like that of her time. The views of this time are best portrayed by Mrs.Warren when she is preaching to Vivie about the importance of financial well being. “Not only to be able to support yourself Vivie, but so you can marry someone worthy,” meaning someone who could afford you. Vivie however, does not show an intrest at all for marrying for money. She never said she couldn’t be with Frank because he was broke but merely because of his attitude. It’s other characters who believe Frank can’t marry her because of his lack of funds. Shaw is poking fun at his time periods views on woman being practically auctioned off. This is harder to relate to today but was probably very evident in Shaw’s era. He probably seen this as a flaw in young women which prevents them from blossoming as human beings. Also, Mrs.Warren is somewhat disgusted by Croft wanting to marry Vivie, but apon thinking about it, realizes she would be well off and tries to convince Vivie. Vivie though is very stern about never even considering Croft as a possible husband. This shows her complete dissimilarity from her mother’s opinions on marriage and societies aswell.
Vivie’s other major strength is her remarkable control of her emotions. This is seen most with her interaction with Frank and her mother. Although she does “roll around in the leaves” once with Frank she is not hypnotized by him by any existent. When Frank tries to “roll around in the leaves” with her again, he is denied. This shows she is in complete control of her feelings. Also, her mother during a few of their conversations starts crying but Vivie never does. Vivie instead talks very rationally. Shaw seems to view woman who are in control of their emotions as much stronger and more powerful individuals.
Overall, Shaw conveys a perception of a modern woman who is not lead astray by traditional values of a woman’s place in life. He expresses that if a woman is not business minded, not independant and not in control of her emotions that she is weakend. Herself and only herself can know what’s best for her despite other peoples opinions.