Bring out the full implication of Jimmy's misogyny in Look Back in Anger.

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mimerajver eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Look Back in Anger first opened in 1956. Declared a chauvinistic play by the critics of the time, it has undergone revision over the years, and many contemporary scholars think that it is unfair to dub Jimmy a misogynist.

It is true that he vents his frustration and anger on his wife, and hates his mother-in-law from the bottom of his heart. Yet if you think on it, Jimmy hates the whole of humankind. He feels disappointed in society and politicians and thinks that he has not been dealt a fair hand in the game of life.

By marrying Alison, he has taken a hostage from the social class he detests the most. His feelings toward her are indeed ambivalent, for he would like her to stand up to him, to react at his attacks, and in that way show that she equals him in stamina. As Alison opts for not responding, she fuels his rage further.

If we agree that a misogynist hates all women, we should also agree that this is not true of Jimmy. He loved Madeline, loves Hugh's mother deeply and, after the first verbal squabbles with Helena -who does confront him- settles down with her in a very different mood that the one that loomed over his previous time with Alison.

Therefore we should be very careful before labeling Jimmy as a misogynist. We may call him a misfit, a character that finds fault with everything but is incapable of involving himself with reality and taking action, an immature personality, and certainly "an angry young man." But he does not show the consistent hatred of women that would place him in the category of misogyny.

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Look Back in Anger

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