Mrs. Warren’s Profession illustrates three different possibilities for Victorian women. These possibilities included prostitution, marriage, or living as a New Woman. In this play, the author displays each of these possibilities in a different character and in some ways, they were all interdependent. The possibilities can be seen as both a reflection of each other and a reflection of the Victorian society.
When looking at Mrs. Warren’s character, you will see that she was a strong woman, she was outspoken, a former prostitute, took good care of her daughter, had a good business sense and was well off financially. Mrs. Warren possessed the characteristics of a prostitute, a married woman, and a New Woman. Yet, she was looked down upon because prostitution was her gateway to all the characteristics she possessed. Women in the Victorian society married for financial security, which Mrs. Warren gained through prostitution and without marrying. Women in the Victorian society became prostitutes so that they wouldn’t have to slave in factories. It was seen as their only option for survival. Mrs. Warren was a prostitute, but only until she was able to support herself and her daughter. The New Women in the Victorian society were independent, uncompromising, educated and practical. Mrs. Warren obtained this not through instructional education but through life experiences. She had a difficult childhood and struggled to gain a comfortable life for herself and for her daughter. This illustrated her Jones 2
endurance and her lack of regard for social restraints. The Victorian society led women to believe that if they didn’t marry a wealthy man or were not educated their only other choice was to become a prostitute. Mrs. Warren showed them that prostitution could serve as a vehicle to become both educated and financially comfortable.
I find it ironic, how Mrs. Warren is rejected by the “Good” society because of her past career as a prostitute, but they overlook the...
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