Read Mrs Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw Online


Bernard Shaw's most notorious play, banned from the English stage for nearly thirty years, is now available in a stand-alone edition enhanced by a wide range of historical documents....

Title : Mrs Warren's Profession
Author :
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ISBN : 9781551116273
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 246 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Mrs Warren's Profession Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-02-06 11:45

    Getting Biblical about this, should the sins of the fathers be visited upon the children unto the tenth generation? Does this apply to mothers too? Or shall we be a bit more modern and forgiving about it? The daughter in this play took the hard Biblical line and applied it to her mother too, cutting her off from all contact when she found out that her extremely privileged youth and expensive education as a lawyer had been paid for by her mother's hard work first on her back and secondly running houses full of girls who also laid down to work. She didn't, however, offer to pay her mother back.Hypocrite.Tremendously entertaining read featuring lots of good-natured people and one or two who weren't. It puts the pros of prostitution - self-employment, self-determination and high earnings mostly - against the cons - social suicide if you are found out and paternity of a child might be difficult to identify, chief among them. At the time of writing, 1898, this was a shocking, distasteful story. Now whether or not its shocking depends on who the prostitute is and her exact position in the world of whoredom. A friend's daughter who had been working in a secretarial position in Hong Kong, turned up on the internet in the missionary position and whether or not she took private clients was kind of irrelevant after that. The family was shocked, horrified and ashamed but did not in any way cut their daughter off, but she attempted suicide anyway. If we hear of a woman being a street prostitute to support her drug habit, we feel differently than if she had been doing it to support her children. And for women a little further up the scale, the call girls, escorts, part-time whores, there is a sort of good-luck-to-her attitude mixed with a bit of disgust as to why she couldn't find herself a more conventional job. For those at the top of the whoredom tree, the girlfriend possees of Hugh Hefner and his like, there is often fame! Look at The Girls Next Door - Holly, Kendra and the rest, moved on from their $1,000 a week 'pocket money' and sexual obligations twice a week! (See Bunny Tales for details of their job descriptions!)Mind, this disparity in reaction to prostitution has always existed at the top of society. The working-class girls were socially-unacceptable whores, but the aristocratic ones, working at the very pinnacle of society, were called 'courtesans' and the King's 'favourite' and other such euphemisms and much lauded for their beauty and connections.The main difference between those days and now is that then social opprobrium was the likely result on people discovering you were a whore, whereas now, its more likely people will sidle up to you and say 'what's it really like, do you uh, enjoy it?' and want to know the sleazy, exciting details!

  • Kenny
    2019-02-09 10:47

    #7 of my 2018 Shaw ProjectShaw's Mrs Warren's Profession was banned for nearly 30 years by a Lord Chamberlain who condemned it for being "immoral and improper." It has lost none of its edginess these past 125 years.Mrs Warren's Profession is a complex comedy - not your typical satire or farce, instead a character driven story focused on the relationship between Vivie and Mrs. Warren. Complex in the sense that any of the older men mentioned in the play could be her father ~~ it's a harsh reality that is brought to light with a comedic tone. Without ever mentioning the word "prostitution", Shaw's play is able to delve into the moral taboos and consequences of the profession.Mrs. Warren is a dream role for any actress. She is light and comedic when needed, strong and emotional at others. She drives the play even when she is not appearing on stage. It's no wonder Uta Hagen, Cherry Jones, Elizabeth Ashley, Joan Plowright, Coral Browne and Lili Palmer have loved playing her. Shaw here highlights a still taboo subject matter and does so brilliantly.

  • BillKerwin
    2019-02-08 14:32

    Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1883) was first collected in Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant, where Shaw classifies it as one of his “unpleasant” plays. And, boy, is Shaw ever right.Partly, this is because of the theme of the play: women are drawn into prostitution because of economic necessity, not because of a defect of moral character or the consequences of a disastrous love affair. This in itself is an uncomfortable truth for a Victorian audience, guaranteed to make ‘em squirm in their seats. Moreover, Shaw makes it even more difficult for the audience by refusing to manipulate their intellects by enlisting their sentiments. Both the women, the prostitute-turned-madam mother (Kitty Warren) and her sheltered, disapproving daughter (Vivie Warren), are hard-headed and unsympathetic, and both their male friends are rather sleazy characters, capable of flirting with both mother and daughter. Stop looking for honor and love here, Shaw tells us, and get back to the economic issue. That’s what’s important.It is a noble experiment, and, although I think it could have used a little more heart, I found Mrs. Warren’s Profession both thought provoking and satisfying. I enjoyed reading it enough that I would like to see it performed.Here are a few excerpts from Kitty’s defense of her life choice to her unsympathetic daughter Vivie:But where can a woman get the money to save in any other business? Could y o u save out of four shillings a week and keep yourself dressed as well? Not you. Of course, if youre a plain woman and can’t earn anything more; or if you have a turn for music, or the stage, or newspaper-writing: thats different. But neither Liz nor I had any turn for such things at all: all we had was our appearance and our turn for pleasing men. Do you think we were such fools as to let other people trade in our good looks by employing us as shopgirls, or barmaids, or waitresses, when we could trade in them ourselves and get all the profits instead of starvation wages? Not likely. . .What is any respectable girl brought up to do but to catch some rich man’s fancy and get the benefit of his money by marrying him?--as if a marriage ceremony could make any difference in the right or wrong of the thing! Oh, the hypocrisy of the world makes me sick! Liz and I had to work and save and calculate just like other people; elseways we should be as poor as any good-for-nothing drunken waster of a woman that thinks her luck will last for ever. [With great energy] I despise such people: theyve no character; and if theres a thing I hate in a woman, it’s want of character. . . Of course it’s worthwhile to a poor girl, if she can resist temptation and is good-looking and well conducted and sensible. It’s far better than any other employment open to her. I always thought that it oughtn’t to be. . . But it’s so, right or wrong; and a girl must make the best of it. . . I should have been a fool if I’d taken to anything else.

  • Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
    2019-02-04 13:42

    Read a playI know that this play is a classic and there are a lot of people who like it. It just didn't do it for me. I thought it was boring and pretentious, and I literally hated every single character in it. Basically the plot centers around a middle-aged Mrs. Warren and her young adult daughter, Vivie. Mrs. Warren, or Kitty as many gentlemen call her, was absent for much of Vivie's childhood, and Vivie grew up a bit resentful and very independent. She studied hard and went to college, and has kind of cut out a very nice life for herself. She has a boyfriend named Frank who is an egotistical prat and Vivie only tolerates him half the time. Mrs. Warren comes home with one of her gentleman "friends" who instantly decides he is going to marry Vivie. Vivie, being independent, aptly refuses, and Mr. Crofts (our snobbish and entitled gentleman caller) decides to tell Evie what her mother does for a living. (Hint: she beds men for lots of $$$)Well, once its discovered that Mrs. Warren owns a brothel, Vivie cuts her off, even though the generous amount of money that has gathered from this profession over the years has paid for Vivie's education, and given her a very privileged life.Can we say hypocrite?I dunno. I understand and respect the profound statement this play made on the people who first saw it performed and continues to make today. There are a lot of interesting and humanistic issues at hand here. And I know that it certainly would have been extremely forward-thinking and cutting-edge for its time (turn-of-the-century Victorian England). It just bored me to tears, and I could not find myself caring about a single character in it. Their relationships with one another were really odd, and at times very contradictory. They all seemed to love each other AND hate each other in the same breath. I couldn't find many redeeming qualities in any of them, and ultimately, came to this conclusion:

  • Cecily
    2019-02-12 08:47

    George Bernard Shaw was ahead of his time, and this play was banned when it was written (1893). It exposes the hypocrisy of a society that condemns those who are not chaste, but does little to assuage the poverty that leaves some women few alternatives to survive (similar territory to JB Priestly's "The Inspector Calls", set less than 20 years later). Equally controversially, it makes a strident case for women's emancipation in general, whilst retaining Shaw's peppering of acerbic wit (Wilde with a social conscience, perhaps?). It also has a very modern ending, i.e. ambiguous and probably not happy.Intellectual, highly educated and fiercely independent twenty-something Vivie is an only child who was farmed out to families and tutors, and barely knows her enigmatic but apparently respectable mother.She learns that her mother used to be a prostitute and then made more serious money from running several profitable brothels in mainland Europe. Most of the play is concerned with Vivie trying to come to terms with this and how it affects her feelings towards the mother who wants to be loved unconditionally. Vivie wants to be sympathetic, but struggles, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they cant find them, make them".The main relationships are between parents and children, rather than lovers. The troubled mother and daughter relationship is contrasted in a minor way with a slightly awkward but mildly comical father and son relationship (Frank Gardener, and his father, the vicar). Less comfortably, there are dubious undertones of quasi-incestuous attraction and I'm puzzled at Shaw's motives for that.Nevertheless, Shaw pushes a powerful message in an entertaining way. The fact that Vivie is not a warm character toys with readers'/audience's sympathies in a way that only enhances his case.

  • David Sarkies
    2019-02-04 11:34

    The Oldest Profession 26 January 2018 – Kuala Lumpar Fortunately I have discovered that there are a couple of versions of this play on Youtube, one of them having been viewed over twenty-five thousand times (I believe that it is a performance), so when I have a bit more time, since I am currently out and about in Kuala Lumpar at this present moment, I'll sit down and watch it, and maybe write a more detailed blog post of the play. However, at this present time I'll simply write this review based on the reading of the play, which isn't always the best (though if you have read the review on The Widower's Houses, you will note that Shaw actually wanted us to read the play as well as watching it performed). Like a lot of his plays, Shaw opens this play with a prelude where he not only discussed some of the themes that arise from the play – that is prostitution – but also the problems that he had in attempting to stage it (and the hypocrisy thereof). He did manage to stage it in 1902 in a Gentleman's Club (no, not that type of club), which was the only way he could get around the censorship laws – that is a private production. Mind you, this type of censorship is nothing new, and even today you will have some form of censorship, even if it is only self imposed. One of the problems that Shaw faced involved the content of the play. As he points out, a play can have a rape scene, but as long as it occurs within marriage, that was okay. However, he also points out that this form of censorship only applies to new plays, because once a play had been accepted, then it is always accepted – so plays such as Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus were fine, where as his plays certainly weren't. In a way this was all about Victorian purity, but what Shaw was getting at was that this so called Victorian purity covered up a whole series of sins. The play is about a woman and her relationship with her daughter. The afore said Mrs Warren is, or should I say was, a prostitute. However since her younger days she has moved up the ranks and is not only considerably wealthy, but she is also a part owner of a chain of brothels across Europe. This leads to some complications because it turns out that Vivie, Mrs Warren's daughter, is in love with a guy who could quite well be her half-brother, (and his father happens to be a vicar). However, due to the nature of her profession, it is not always possible to determine who the real father actually is. What Shaw is getting at here is that society treats the prostitute as the wrongdoer, and we even have some rather cruel words which are used to describe a woman of such a profession. However Shaw suggests that this is not the case, and in many instances women are forced into this job simply to make ends meet. In those days women were paid the same as immigrant workers happen to be paid today – you could say that they were the Victorian form of the immigrant worker. The idea was that women shouldn't be working, and respectable women would stay at home and serve the husband. Actually, it was a lot worse than it was in the fifties, since during this time the woman was the property of the husband, and the husband even had the right to beat his wife if she played up (as long as the stick was no thicker than his thumb, not that that justifies such an action). Yet, as he points out, this is one of those vices that really aren't going to go away, namely because of vested interests that are involved. There are an awful lot of powerful people who gain a benefit from prostitution, and thus not interested in changing the laws to protect women, or to even pay them a living wage. In a way it is similar where it comes to immigrant workers – they are cheap. As an American friend once told me, it is difficult, if not impossible, to stay in business unless you use immigrant workers. Okay, there is also the case of the minimum wage being an issue across the board these days, however the question that Shaw is addressing has to do with the system that forces women into brothels. He isn't condemning the woman – she is acting out of necessity, and this is the attitude that Shaw wants us to understand. However, the problem is that the play is somewhat dated when we consider the situation in which we live now. In pretty much every state in Australia prostitution is now legal (or at least decriminalised) and there are strict health laws governing in industry. This doesn't really change much though, except opening up a profession to women who otherwise would not have entered it (most 'legal' prostitutes are university students). Sex slavery still exists, as do the women who are attempting to support a drug habit. It is just that this has pretty much gone further underground. In a way there is a reason why it is referred to as the 'world's oldest profession', and it is a profession that is going to be staying around for quite a while.

  • Dan
    2019-02-12 09:31

    My favorite Bernard Shaw play for one reason, Vivie.The plot deftly explores some taboo subjects of the time through Mrs. Warren and her family and male friends back in England. Mrs. Warren’s former occupation was as a high end prostitute and her current occupation is as a madam of several brothels around Europe. Several of the men, former lovers of Mrs. Warren, are suitors for Vivie, Mrs. Warren’s adult daughter who do did not inherit Mrs. Warren’s great looks. So it gets a little awkward except that Vivie falls for no one. I will cut to the chase so as not to ruin the plot. While Mrs. Warren gets title billing, the play is really more about those around Mrs. Warren. Let me just say throughout the play that Vivie is continually giving every one a giant middle finger. There is not one person in the play who she does not, playfully or otherwise, insult. Yes she is witty and yes she can be cold. She isn’t omniscient and doesn’t pretend to be. Her character juxtaposed against her aging mother foreshadows a coming change to Victorian society. This play predates the UK women’s suffrage movement but when I envision Vivie a suffragette is who I see.Shaw evokes a good deal of sympathy not only for Mrs. Warren but for those women who were victims of the economic and social injustices and inequalities that led many into the prostitution trap. But it is Vivie, stubborn, independent and perhaps at times ruthless by Victorian standards, who marches headlong into the 20th century needing nothing from men or her mother or at least she thinks so.MRS WARREN [wildly] My God, what sort of woman are you?VIVIE [coolly] The sort the world is mostly made of, I should hope. Otherwise I don't understand how it gets its business done. Come pull yourself together. Later FRANK. No use, Praddy. Viv is a little Philistine. She is indifferent to my romance, and insensible to my beauty.VIVIE. Mr Praed: once for all, there is no beauty and no romance in life for me. Life is what it is; and I am prepared to take it as it is.

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-02-04 06:26

    Of the Shaw I read in my short stint as a dramaturg, this was my favorite. It bears all his hallmarks: feisty women choosing between an artist and a businessman, a basic farcical British romance plot, a hypocritical priest, lots of quipping about philosophy, and attempts to make the characters vivid and surprising.At the latter task, he succeeds more in this book than in any of the others, truly turning the form of the light comedy on its head and committing to Ibsenesque realism. He still captures neither the minutely precise psychology of Chekhov nor the solid (if predictable) comedy of Wilde, but he does present characters that are more visceral and true than elsewhere in his work.The characters do not boast quite the same implacable self-awareness that often marks Shaw's puppet debates. Instead, they prove capable of incongruity, uncontrollable emotional responses, and pique. His standard cast of allegorical types seem to chafe at the philosophical bounds Shaw always sets, allowing them to rise above their role as argumentative stances, as they never do in Candida or Man and Superman.Shaw is always at his best when he lets his imagination run away with him, when he ceases to be obsessively concerned with the message he's conveying, and begins to write fluidly, naturally, allowing the characters to take on the aspect of living. A sweeping pen often captures more, in nuance and paradox, than a precise one does in the endless detailing of careful construction.Of course, there must first be something within the mind of the author to spill out, and here, Shaw gets as close as he will ever get to admitting a real, central conflict in his philosophies. He is not merely stating both sides in reasonable, forceful, hyperbole, as is usual, he lets arguments fall apart, lets them be unsure and imprecise, and it is in these strange, unshavian moments of unsurety that we get the most interesting insights.That Shaw let his pen run so freely seems almost an oversight on his part, when compared with his works before and since, but I suspect it merely caught him at a moment of personal and philosophical fluidity, when he was too intrigued by the procession of thought to remember to be the Ridiculous and Overbearing Shaw.If only he had recognized the use of this ambiguity and embraced it, we might not have had to deal with the unfortunate polarizing mess of the half-sarcastic, self-loving/self-loathing, self-obsessed, larger-than-life Shaw as he wended through his unusually long (and unfortunately long-winded) career.

  • Bruce
    2019-01-21 14:37

    Any play by George Bernard Shaw deserves a careful reading of his extended introduction, his introductions always clarifying his intent and motivation in writing the particular play he is presenting. This present introduction is no exception, and without a knowledge of his perceptions and goals the reader will find the play much less satisfying.Mrs. Warren is a brothel keeper, the part-owner of a string of brothels across Europe from which she derives the income that has enabled her daughter Vivie to attend Cambridge University and graduate to a responsible position in the corporate world. Vivie knows nothing about her mother’s business ventures and indeed knows little about her mother at all, having grown up in the care of other people. In this play the two women meet and come to understand each other for virtually the first time in a context in which Mrs. Warren arrives at Vivie’s cottage at the same time as a number of gentlemen – Mrs. Warren’s co-owner of the brothels; a flighty and impecunious young fortune hunter; a clergyman who turns out to be Vivie’s father; one of Mrs. Warren’s faithful friends. The psychological dynamics of Vivie’s gradual understanding of her mother and how Mrs. Warren has sacrificed for her are interesting, and, if the play comes to no tidy or conventional conclusions, it nevertheless raises issues illuminative of Victorian society as well as those of our own day.Shaw is interested in exploring the limited roles then available to women, focusing especially on issues of capitalism and its relationship to conventional morality. When acceptable roles are few and opportunities are limited, how does society implicitly or explicitly constrain choices, and are those constraints constructive and justifiable or unfair and harmful? The thoughtful reader will do well to ponder how certain groups today are limited by circumstances and then blamed for the decisions they make regarding how to live their lives. Specific circumstances may in some cases be different now than they were a century or more ago (and some may not), but underlying issues are often strikingly similar.

  • Fabian
    2019-01-20 10:21

    We get a more vivid picture of Shaw's style of social commentary-- again, there are no true protagonists and all characters are to blame (since they all belong in a certain spot in this aformentioned society). The men circle Mrs. Warren's daughter like sharks-- they are crazy post-Victorians who treat the "elephant in the room" (in this case, prostitution) as a mere triviality. It is not as witty as say, O. Wilde, but it exposes great truths in hyper-articulate strings of dialogue. I really enjoy these examples ("Widower's Houses," for instance) of the younger generation realizing and figuring out the macabre, uncaring strings of corruption in the society they were born into.

  • Marianna
    2019-02-20 06:22

    Shaw may or may not have become my favourite playwriter! Very forward for its time, it deals with issues that are taboo even to this day, let alone the 19th century.

  • Versha
    2019-02-02 09:18

    Yet again a powerful play by Shaw wherein he makes an attempt to contradict the society’s norms and people’s hypocrisy towards it . In ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’ Shaw shows how a mother’s profession turns a daughter’s life upside down. Vivie (the daughter) is a highly educated woman, who wants to lead her life independently according to her own terms. She strongly believes in- simple living and high thinking, where as her mother Mrs Warren wants Vivie to flaunt her beauty and get herself a husband. But as soon as Vivie rejects to marry one of her mother’s business partner grudgingly he reveals her mother true profession. Vivie becomes furious and questions her mothers’ choice of profession. Mrs Warren gives her own reasons and the circumstances, which were responsible for it. Vivie, obliges her mothers reasoning, but as soon as she comes to know her mother is still running the business even though they have enough money for themselves and also is responsible for destroying the life of so many girls she decides to disown her own mother though her mother claims that, till now what ever luxury Vivie had it was all from her profession.Surly there arises a lot of question while reading this play. But whether to support Vivie’s decision or to sympathise with Mrs Warren, who had lots of hope from her one and only daughter is left to us readers.

  • Deepa
    2019-02-09 13:43

    Typical Shaw! Amazing in its incisive insight into the bourgeoisie's hypocritical pretensions to moral goodness. Vivie Warren is a university educated young woman. She is unaware of the fact that her mother Mrs. Warren's profession was prostitution and that she is now the owner of several successfully running brothel houses. When she realizes the "shocking" truth, she boldly disowns her mother and her wealth. She wants to lead the life of an honest hardworking woman. What she fails to see is that her "honesty" and "goodness" are values she got through her mother's prostitution. In other words without the so called immorality there is no morality. Upper class values of truth, honesty, morality will not exist unless there exists crime, dishonesty and immorality. They are interrelated and we "educated" rich will forever be disgraced inwardly because we owe all of ideas of beauty and goodness to the downtrodden. Shaw beautifully puts forward this view through his play..i am not going to quote some of his brilliant dialogues here cos i want you guys to read it.

  • Eric
    2019-01-26 14:39

    This play of Shaw's was controversial when it was first performed.A young woman, who has been well brought up and expensively educated by her well-to-do mother, finds out that her mother was a prostitute, then a madam. Mrs. Warren defends herself by telling her daughter that, given her limited opportunities, prostitution was the best option available to her. Society, by offering only starvation or the slavery of marriage to poor young women, conspired to make it so.This play is thought-provoking still, but it has less of the Shavian wit than one who has read his other plays would expect.The preface, however, is well worth the price of admission. It's an expose of the double standards of censors and theater critics.

  • John de' Medici
    2019-02-11 14:27

    "I'm not a fool in the ordinary sense, only in the scriptural sense of doing all the things the wise man declare to be folly, after trying them himself in the most extensive scale." A young lady, well-learned has trouble coming to terms by the means in which she earned her education and living. A mother, well-meaning is estranged from her daughter over her profession... Charming and witty. A very fine work!

  • Yngvild
    2019-02-12 11:22

    Rereading Mrs Warren’s Profession after several years, the surprise was how little we would need to change it to play it in modern dress. A daughter, having consumed an expensive education, discovers that her natural mother is a vulgarian working on the fringes of society, and decides to ostracise her from then on. In variation, it is the same theme as Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which did the same thing thirty years earlier with a son and his ex-criminal benefactor. We could repeat the cycle with all those bankers’ sons, who were happy to receive the benefits as long as the prosecutors politely ignored Daddy's activities.George Bernard Shaw’s genius is in extracting the main points without muddying the waters, and that is presumably how he came to fall foul of the censors in England and America. Traditionally, children in literature may support erring parents only as long as they make it clear that it is because of filial duty, and women may benefit from breaking social taboos, as long as they die in the last act. (Verdi had this down pat in La Traviata.) Shaw even explicitly rejects the weasel option of claiming that prostitution is merely a question of governance. Medically test the workers (but not the customers) and the objections disappear. Shaw declines all the easy options and presents the matter squarely: No weeping, no invoking merciful deities, no plausible deniability. At the end, Mrs Warren marches off into the sunset to engage in another fulfilling and profitable workday. The daughter continues to enjoy the benefits of an excellent private education. Customers continue to puchase the services offered by Mrs Warren’s international chain of bordellos.Shaw makes it completely clear that the daughter entirely approves her mother’s youthful decision to join her older sister in running a running a "private hotel", as the only decently paid “profession” open to poor young women with no talent in singing, dancing or hosting talk shows. She merely thinks her mother a fool not to have done as the propertied classes have traditionally done (and the older sister did), and retired into respectability as soon as the ill-gotten fortune is large enough to found a dynasty. Ultimately, the issue as Shaw presents it is: Why is it acceptable to make a fortune out of factories or call centres, but not bordellos, when the real harm in both cases is to the ill-used, underpaid employees, in the case of "legitimate" businesses lulled into stupid self-congratulation at their superior “morality”?“SIR GEORGE CROFTS. Do you remember your Crofts scholarship at Newnham? Well, that was founded by my brother the M.P. He gets his 22 per cent out of a factory with 600 girls in it, and not one of them getting wages enough to live on. . . If you’re going to pick and choose your acquaintances on moral principles, you’d better clear out of this country, unless you want to cut yourself out of all decent society. – Mrs Warren’s Profession, George Bernard Shaw (1893)”

  • Manny
    2019-02-09 13:29

    I thought of Shaw's play last week when reading Populärmusik från Vittula, Mikael Niemi's fine memoir of life in the extreme north of Sweden. In Mrs Warren, the action proceeds at a rather sedate pace. After an hour or two, it gradually becomes clear that Mrs Warren is a former prostitute who's turned respectable, and that the girl her son is keen on is in fact his half-sister. Tears, raised voices, shocked expressions all round.People in Pajala are better at this kind of thing. When Matti turns sixteen, his father tells him that there are some important things he needs to know. "Oh shit, not the birds and the bees!" thinks Matti, who's already got some rather embarrassing sexual experience after being half-raped by a beautiful in-law at a wedding party. But his father has a different agenda in mind. He calmly tells Matti that his father - Matti's grandfather - put it around a bit when he was young, and three girls in the town are consequently off limits. Matti absorbs the new information and is disappointed; one of his newly revealed cousins is in a parallel class at school and quite hot. Oh well.Now that's the way to do it.

  • Samantha
    2019-01-20 06:23

    February 1, 2014:I read this play for the Modern British Drama class I'm taking at the university I attend. I found this one to be pretty interesting and I'm looking forward to reading more if Shaw's work.January 14, 2017:Re-reading this play 3 years later, to help my boyfriend get happily through a class where this is required reading. Found it strikingly similar to Widower's Houses in terms of the overall takeaway, despite the main characters of each having different stances at the end of each play. I found that I had forgotten how this play ends, so it was nice to refresh myself on it.

  • Katie Lumsden
    2019-01-21 12:45

    A really interesting read, especially if you're interested in moral ideas in the Victorian period. Great dialogue too and easy to read. I must read more by George Bernard Shaw!

  • Susan
    2019-02-12 12:20

    A young woman faces a complicated family situation in a drama of social theories, hard facts, and wit for an old fashioned indictment of 19th century English social mores. Read for Modern Drama class

  • Angharad Tolton
    2019-02-19 08:47

    Not what I expected of the play at all, but loved reading it! Vivie really encapsulates everything the late Victorian concept of the New Woman stood for and I love it

  • Miguel
    2019-02-16 11:37

    Mrs. Warren's Profession is an engaging play that questions the conventional morality of the Victorian period with a question that still persists today, namely the moral status of participation in the practice of prostitution whether it is as a prostitute or brothel owner.The play is particularly fantastic due to the vividness of the characters and their personalities and, of course, the subject matter it explores. Vivie is immediately lovable and interesting to both the reader and the characters in the play. Shaw's criticism against Victorian double-standards resonates strongly with today's conflicting views of gender roles and the morality of the sex industry. Shaw's evaluation is careful not to make the mistake of absolving Kitty of a perceived moral fault through subverting her agency, instead he shows that Kitty was victimized but was never a hapless victim. Both Vivie and Kitty Warren violate convention in their own way, and it's left up to the reader to decide if their differences are truly irreconcilable.

  • Francesca
    2019-01-26 08:40

    I was surprised by how ahead of its time this play was. This is a play about a woman living in the Victorian age who every expects her to be a typical Victorian Woman by wanting to be married and live off of her husband's money. However, this is not how the Vivie, the protagonist, wants to live. She is a fresh from college, and sees life in a logical way not a romantic art way. She wants to live independently off of her own money she has worked hard for, only no one understands this. She is also trying to escape her mother's past. I think this is a perfect play for young girls to read to show that who your parents are do not define you, and neither does society.

  • Oumaima Mekni
    2019-02-14 10:33

    I really think this play is too modern to be a 19th century work for drama. It's quite light but the themes are hefty and important, and they are still surprisingly controversial even to this day. A woman who broker her ties with society and poverty, and decided be the master of her sea, a young girl who refused to correspond to the orthodox stereotype of women of the Victorian age and chose self-independence over luxury and wealth, then the two rebels collided. I rejoice when I read such a masterpiece that geniously succeeding at tackling such themes or better say 'taboos' in such a brilliant way.

  • Eric
    2019-02-17 08:47

    Excellent play, but typo full of transcriptionsTypos first: after many contractions missing their apostrophes, it's almost amusing to see the noun "cant" spelled with one. (Among other kinds... Is someone overusing spellcheck and not double-checking the result? Tsk.)As to the play, which I think I've read before back in 1990 or so: the preface should be included in readers on free speech and on theater history if it isn't already, while the play is unusual and effective.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-02-14 10:37

    This play, which is about a young person belonging to the first cohort of emancipated women in the British isles who makes an intelligence and principled decision, is tedious beyond belief when read. However, when staged it springs to life. The audience members hang on every word and then discuss the play in spirited terms when they depart after the final curtain for drinks or coffee.Do not read this book except to prepare yourself for a performance.

  • Sherry
    2019-01-24 08:38

    When George Bernard's play Mrs. Warren's Profession was first performed in London, there was great protest. Nice people should not see plays about the sexual slavery of young women. Even though the practice was rampant in London at the time. Shaw writes an eloquent play exploring the emotional effects of this horrible practice from all sides. I re-read again in 2005. I directed it in 2006.

  • Adam Floridia
    2019-01-26 08:33

    Entertaining social commentary (albeit now dated) in the form a play about the causes of prostitution. Shaw's experiments with language and paradoxically (I say this because of the subject matter) feminist views merit significant thought.

  • Paul Dinger
    2019-02-02 06:34

    It is a funny play about a madam of a house of prostitution that somehow manages not to use that word. I found this play to be highly entertaining, a view of a wierd family dynamic and how it comes apart. Shaw is rarely staged in the U. S. and this is a shame. I want to discover more by him.

  • Nicholas
    2019-02-14 12:22

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one.