George Bernard Shaw Writing Styles in Mrs. Warren's Profession

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The "well-made" play was the typical form employed by playwrights in the second half of the nineteenth century. These plays adopted the Aristotelian primacy of plot, which often overshadowed characterization. Well-made comedies depended on accident rather than character development to achieve the inevitable happy ending. Shaw refused to follow what he considered to be the artificial form of the well-made play, insisting that they bore little resemblance to real-life situations. In Mrs. Warren's Profession, the action is character driven with little plot development, unfolding through conversations that shift back and forth among the players. The conclusion of the play also breaks with tradition. Shaw frustrated the audience's expectation that comedies end with all conflicts resolved. Vivie, his main character, does appear happy at the end of the play as she turns "buoyantly" to her work, which soon gains her full attention. Her conflict with her mother, however...

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Mrs. Warren's Profession from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.