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Mrs. Warren's Profession

by George Bernard Shaw

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Why does Vivie call herself a "conventional woman at heart" at the play's end?

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Towards the end of the play, Vivie Warren explains her mother Kitty's behavior in a way that shows that Vivie has a very scornful notion of what is expected of women, and of what women are like. Her complete quote reads that her mother:

lived one life and believed in another…a conventional woman at heart

This quote basically states that, in Vivie's mind, women are meant to live lives that they really do not want to live and that her mother's double life is a testament of just that. She is the owner of a brothel that tries to obtain social respect by acting respectfully. Hence, she is leading the life of a respectable lady, ironically, as she runs a brothel.

However, Vivie is a self-repressed woman who rejects conventionality of any kind. The normal behaviors of women are, to Vivie, predictable, expected, and almost obligatory. This is why she, stubbornly, refuses to act like typical women do and treat their conventionality as a weakness. However, we know that Vivie is in constant rebellion of her mother and, although she understands her mother's tribulation, still takes off and leaves her on her own. This clearly shows that Vivie's overall attitude towards life is somewhat petulant, semi masochistic, and quite silly at the same time.

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