Is Mrs. Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession any worse or better than the weather men who finance her business or patronize her?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This very much lies at the heart of this excellent play. Let us remember that George Bernard Shaw is above all a playwright who has a distinct socialist slant to his work, and focuses on the themes of poverty and the variety of social ills in England at the time of his writing. In particular, this play focuses on the relationship between poverty and how the poor are placed in an exploitative relationship with the rich. Let us remember how he draws our attention to this aspect in his "Apology":

...as long as poverty makes virture 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.

The play makes clear that Mrs. Warren does not select prostitution as a lifestyle choice or a career move. On the contrary, she is forced into this most demeaning professions as a result of the harsh facts of poverty she is forced to confront. The play focuses on the consequences of this necessity, as "good" society shuns her as a result of her work, but conveniently ignores the way in which it is precisely the "good" society that pays for her services and sustains such careers as prostitution. Mrs. Warren is shown to be a poor mother who is willing to do whatever it takes to care for her child and ensure her survival. The rich men who patronise her are indirectly shown to be responsible for the continuation of what is known as "the oldest profession."

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