The Nature and Significance of Gender Relations in Mrs. Warren’s Profession

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Mrs. Warren’s Profession is one of three plays that feature in George Bernard Shaw’s collection titled “Plays Unpleasant”, each of which Shaw indicated “force the spectator to face unpleasant facts”. Shaw was an early advocate of feminism, so he wrote Mrs. Warren’s Profession to highlight the capitalist and chauvinist society and challenge how people view the role of women within society. The play takes a critical look at the male double standard and how women are objectified. Victorian society created a rigid outline where the roles of women and men were clearly defined. Through the use of characterisation Shaw manages to emphasise the controversies that affected Victorian society; this is achieved mainly through the relationship of Kitty …show more content…
The male leads with the exception of Frank Gardner have all had sexual relations with Kitty, leading them to question themselves and each other as to who is the father of Vivie. Kitty wants a different life for Vivie, a life where she no longer has to suffer the suppressions of society, she appears to be a hybrid of new and old social values, the fact that she refuses to allow Frank to marry Vivie, because he is penniless affirming her view on the matter;
“Your love’s a pretty cheap commodity, my lad. If you have no means of keeping a wife, that settles it: you cant have Vivie.” (Mrs. Warren's Profession.ii,235)
Kitty still however remains restricted by the social restraints. The men within the play, especially Sir George Croft still have an influence over her, due to her being deeply affected by societies constraints towards women.
Shaw’s idea of new women uninhibited by society’s restraints is present in Vivie; unlike her mother who remains and no doubt always will be a victim of social ideologies, she rejects the old values and is wholly independent, especially towards the end of the play when she gives up the monetary allowance she had been receiving from her mother. However this independence comes with consequences, to be accepted as an equal among men, Vivie shows very little sign of
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