Examining Gender Roles In Man And Superman

1663 words - 7 pages

The dynamics of the characters and relationships represented in Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman have created a buzz of critical debate among the world of theater for the past century. The focus typically remains on two of the main characters, Ann Whitefield and John “Jack” Tanner, in an effort to examine in entirety whether the characters represent gender roles that oppose the accepted social norm or whether the characters actually support the typical gender roles. Bernard Shaw, when viewed by the standards of his time and perhaps modern society as well, constructed a dramatic representation that is supportive of the political ideas concerning the social equality of the sexes. While the characters Ann and Jack may possess stereotypical gender characteristics that motive their actions in the play, both characters advance the political movements for equality of Shaw’s time by exploring their sexuality on stage, witnessed by a live audience.
By discussing and giving examples of human emotions such as passion, love, envy, and jealousy, Shaw was able to show the range of human beings – regardless of their gender. Shaw wanted to demonstrate to his audience and contemporaries his belief that people should take pleasure in their emotions and that they should submerse themselves into their true sexuality. Shaw created characters filled with intellect and passion, showing that the characters were innately intimate and that sexuality, through intimacy, should be embraced by society rather than feared. Carpenter argues that at the turn of the 20th century, Shaw suggested that the Puritan ideals of Victorian society had perpetrated the British stage, placing playwrights in a delicate position. Carpenter’s articles focuses specifically on the tact that Shaw mastered by presenting these controversial topics to the public without creating an offensively obscene play:
In 1900, Bernard Shaw diagnosed the English theatre's preoccupation with sex in his preface to Three Plays for Puritans and, conceivably as a chain reaction, decided to write a genuine sex play himself. At that time, the average middle-class Englishman was a sort of prurient Puritan, too timid even to pronounce the word sex, yet entranced by the topic. […] From its earliest conception, Shaw spoke of his "Donjuán play" as unfit for the stage of the current generation [and gave the play …] substantial Puritanizing treatment. […]Man and Superman really amounts to a fourth play for Puritans. Shaw's attempt to give sex a full-fledged dramatic rendering, though doubtless far from the half-baked romantic play of the time. (Carpenter 70)
Shaw’s solution to appealing to the audience’s human curiosity of sexual desire without crossing society’s prudent moral line was to create “the romantic play”, an exploration of sexual desire and fulfillment disguised as an uncontroversial romantic plot that ends with a traditional matrimonial engagement. Man and Superman was Shaw’s answer to displaying the sexual...

Find Another Essay On Examining Gender Roles in Man and Superman

The Amorphous Nature of Gender Roles, from the Dawn of Man to Cultures of Today: Essentiality, Diversity, and Ingrained Tendency

3098 words - 12 pages Gender roles play a significant part in the cultures of countless societies, and continually change and morph to meet modern thinking and trends. Gender roles can be defined as general behavioral patterns that are associated with being male or female within a certain system or faction; the division of labor is among some of the most extensively discussed topics regarding these sex-based roles. It has become widely recognized that gender roles

Man And Superman Essay

1626 words - 7 pages George Bernard Shaw wrote his play Man and Superman in response to calls for him to write a play based off the Don Juan theme. Don Juan is a fictional character, said to be a womanizer, whose story has been told many times by various authors. George Bernard Shaw wrote for the Realism time period of theater, where the actions and speech of the characters were similar to that of everyday life. The plays and the actors themselves aimed to use the

man and superman

1415 words - 6 pages Man and Superman An essay “Man and Superman: In athletic competitions, what qualifies as a sporting chance?” by Malcolm Gladwell is attempted to answer an issue “Do genetic advantages make sports unfair?” The essay contains two arguments: human biological diversity makes sports unfair, and, consequently, as human attempts to equalise all the players as considered a moral obligation, the sports industry has no problem with athletes’ self

Gender Roles and Sexuality in Latin America

1179 words - 5 pages . After defining the gender roles of man and woman I was able to find the conforming and contradicting traditional understandings of femininity and masculinity in Latin America. These forms of sexuality include heterosexuality, homosexuality (gays and lesbians), and transvestism. Heterosexuality is a social practice that a majority of Latin Americans practice. Homosexuality and transvestitism are the less practiced sexualities in Latin America. I

Patriarchy and Gender Roles in Genesis

911 words - 4 pages intended them to be equal. However, in Genesis two it is suggested that equality was not God's intention because God created man and woman from different sources, plus because of Eve eating from the tree of knowledge and feeding some of the fruit to Adam, God punished Eve, telling her, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you," collectively, it all insinuates that patriarchy, gender roles and inequality between men and women

Gender Roles in War and Peace

1953 words - 8 pages Particular accepted gender roles are enforced throughout peacetime and war, often with violent consequences. Initially this essay will explore the meaning behind gendered roles, their creation, and their importance in modern society. Using a case study of the conflict and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this essay will then investigate the prevalence of sexual violence in war. Gender is a social construct and does exist

Gender Roles and Racism in Othello

1863 words - 7 pages Gender roles and racism play a big part in Shakespeare’s Othello. “Othello is unique among Shakespeare's great tragedies. Unlike Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, which are set against a backdrop of affairs of state and reverberate with suggestions of universal human concerns, Othello is set in a private world and focuses on the passions and personal lives of its major figures. Indeed, it has often been described as a "tragedy of character

Gender Roles and Racism in Othello

1916 words - 8 pages Gender roles and racism play a big part in Shakespeare’s Othello. “Othello is unique among Shakespeare's great tragedies. Unlike Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, which are set against a backdrop of affairs of state and reverberate with suggestions of universal human concerns, Othello is set in a private world and focuses on the passions and personal lives of its major figures. Indeed, it has often been described as a "tragedy of character

Gender Roles in Beauty and The Beast

610 words - 2 pages Gender roles in "Beauty and the Beast" Gender roles have been ingrained in our society all throughout history. In Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont's short story Beauty and the Beast, the author presents each character as a reflection of their own genders. Dominance and submission are two specific gender identities that have been assigned to men and women respectively. Beaumont tackles the difference between men and women's roles in

Gender Roles in Russia and Cuba

1726 words - 7 pages Societies have always had traditional ways of life, such as, gender roles, celebrations, religions, educations, etc. Gender roles vary in different countries all around the world from relative status, labor, marriage, inheritance and socialization such as education and child care. As the years go by traditions begin to change, and people alter their ways of life. A wide variety of things are now more accepted in today’s time

Exploiting Stereotypes and Gender Roles in Gaming

3022 words - 12 pages that women are sexual objects. Dietz’s study was one of the earliest studies to examine stereotypical portrayals in video games. The main focus being gender roles in video games. “Only recently has gaming research begun to concern itself with the portrayals of game characters, and this research has often focused on the portrayal of women in games” (Burgess). The portrayal of female characters in video games is astonishingly sexualized and

Similar Essays

Examining Gender Roles Through An Econimic Lens

869 words - 4 pages When undertaking an analysis of gender roles in society, there are many different, yet intersecting, avenues that can be traveled. One such avenue is one of economic impetus, that is to say examining gender roles in a given society or culture through the lens of the economic realities that are present in said society or culture. When pursuing an analysis of this nature, three questions must be asked and answered. The first involves an

An Essay Examining Gender Roles In The Child's Fairy Tale Red Riding Hood, Or "Little Red Cap"

1016 words - 4 pages Little Red CapAll too often we see fairy tales depicting one-dimensional characters put in difficult situations. This creates an almost eerie continuity between all fairy tales as we see similar situations played out again and again by even more similar characters. Little Red Cap is no exception, especially when looking at gender roles. Sexually innocent and unknowing of the world, Little Red Cap can be unsuitably titled our heroine of the story

Gender Roles In Y: The Last Man By Brian K. Vaughan

1164 words - 5 pages Women and men have equally played their roles since the evolution of the human race. Roles such as housewives, mailmen, doctors, and policemen have kept the society we live today in equilibrium. Men have initially been a dominating species so to think a world without men could survive is doubtful. Y: The Last Man, a fiction comic written by Brian K. Vaughan is about a man named Yorick Brown and his monkey and how they survive a plaque which

"Gender Roles And Fashion " How Do Clothing Fashions Aid In The Social Construction Of Gender? What Does A Woman Or Man Say About Herself Or Himself With Various Pieces Of Clothing?

901 words - 4 pages Most people feel that the qualities and characteristics we perceive as specific to gender are inherent by nature. In America, physical strength is stereotyped to be masculine, while emotional behavior is stereotyped as feminine. Any straying from these expectations is sufficient grounds for alienation. However, historian Howard Zinn has documented that gender roles are a part of a system constructed by the ruling class during the formation of