Mrs. Warren's Profession Themes

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Poverty and Wealth

Shaw knew well the consequences of poverty in Victorian England, the hypocrisy of the wealthy, and the interdependence of the rich and poor. He writes in his "Apology," "as long as poverty makes virtue hideous and the spare pocket-money of rich bachelordom makes vice dazzling, their daily hand-to-hand fight against prostitution . . . will be a losing one." Mrs. Warren's poverty forces her into prostitution, which wealthy men pay for. "Good" society rejects her but overlooks, as Crofts points out, the corruption involved in the upper class's acquisition of its own wealth.

Oppression and Freedom

The play presents an ironic interplay of oppression and freedom. Mrs. Warren gains financial freedom and a measure of independence as she moves away from the oppression of her poverty by the exploitation of her sex, which reinforces society's oppression of women. Shaw presents further irony in the fact that Vivie's education has...

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This section contains 319 words
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Buy the Mrs. Warren's Profession Study Guide
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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.