ba 2nd year english literature books
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MODERN DRAMA : AN INTRODUCTION
“Modern play is the mirror of modern life : it is the penetrative criticism of day-to-day activities of our life.” Prof. Herford James
The reader of Shakespeare is apt to find the play of Shaw quite different in many ways. Drama in England had passed through several stages of development since Shakespeare. The plays the Restoration had no beauty, no art and no real sense in them. The tragedies and comedies reflected, mirrored the condition of the times and reflected the corruption at the Court. The eighteenth century saw the sentimental comedy that dealt with pathos and sentiments and produced tears rather than laughter. There was the Domestic Tragedy that evoked pity and softer emotions but was without the grandeur of great tragedies. The nineteenth century was the age of poetry and drama saw a decline. The plays written by poets were meant for reading. This was Closet Drama. A new spirit entered the English theatre from 1860 under the influence of foreign dramatists, the most famous of whom was the Norvegian dramatist, Henrick Ibsen. This Modern Drama flourished in the last century. Realism, seriousness, typical characterization, medium of prose, propaganda as a motive, revolt against conventions and theatre fulfilling the needs of the modern audience are the main features of this modern drama. ba 2nd year english literature books
Realism: The modern dramatist makes us intimately acquainted with life. There is no love making, jesting and singing of Shakespearean comedy, but we find the anxieties, worries and conflicts of life. The theme is derived from life and its various problems are presented in a realistic manner. The acting is natural and the dialogues are realistic. Characterization is true and psychological. Contemporary life and problems are mirrored. Middle class and lower class abe specially treated.
The modern drama is marked in the seriousness a gravity. There is an attempt to find out a solution to the vario problems of life. There is, of course, an atmosphere of am
1 course, an atmosphere of amusement but it is thought-provoking and the reader and audience are se about the possible solution. ba 2nd year english literature books
Characterization : Characters in modern a rather than individuals. They are representatives of the claasses to which they belong. The character do not seen to develop and grow, We
do not find in modern drama the fine portraits plentifully scattered as in the plays of Shakespeare and other Elizabethan dramatists. We have common, little men and women and no great awe-inspiring personages.
Prose : Realism has resulted in a change in the medium too. Verse would be unsuitable and the modern plays are almost exclusively written in prose. These plays have some of the finest prose written today. The dialogue is thus devoid of poetic beauty and charm. Some dramatists have tried to give some charm to the dialogue by making their prose poetic, melodious and musical.
The motive of the modern dramatist is to make propaganda of his own ideas. Drama has thus become the vehicle of ideas which are discussed thoroughly.
Problem : The modern drama deals with social problems of all kinds such as the problem of marriage, problem of the administration of justice or that of the strife between the capital and the labour. This makes the drama intellectual with plenty of food for thought.
Element of Revolt: The modern drama breathes an air of revolt against conventional customs and tradition. It preaches freedom. The aim of the modern drama, according to Shaw, is to expose “the tins behind glitter and sawdust beneath the doll of conventions.” This brings in an element of satire and wit. Modern drama reveals, without sentimental consideration, things which were so far considered sacred and therefore were not to be talked of.
Theatre : The theatre too has undergone considerable change which has had a clear influence of direction and acting. The modern theatre has infinitely greater resources at its command. It is now possible to produce subtle, artistic effects. The construction and resources of the theatre have influenced the technique of the modern drama. The dramatists try to put before the audience characters and situations exactly as they imagined them. So they include very long stage directions. Shakespeare gives none. The modern dramatist dictates everything about the personality of the character, the dress and the behaviour. Even the colour of the eyes and their movement is set down. The result is that there is much of silence and dumb-show. The whole scene may be performed without a word from anyone. This makes the work of the actor a bit more difficult but makes the show much more life like and interesting. There are no soliloquies and asides because they are no more needed. “The modern playwright is, above all, an internationalist.”
-Reginald Gould ba 2nd year english literature books
BERNARD SHAW : LIFE SKETCH
“Yet when all deductions are made, and when Shakespeare at the head of English dramatists, who is to be placed second if
-Allardyce Nicoll Shaw.”
Introduction : George Bernard Shaw, the greatest playwriche since Shakespeare, achieved name and fame in his lifetime. He was on of the last of eminent Victorians. During his long life, by his writing and sharp comments Shaw did much to alert the thinking of mankind He broke down many of the useless traditions of the 19th century.
ba 2nd year english literature books
Birth and Parentage : Shaw was born in Dublin on July 26 1856. He was the third child and only son of George Carr Shaw, civil servant, later a wholesale corn dealer. Lucinda Gurly was her mother, She was the daughter of a country gentleman of Carlow. The Shaw family descended from Capt. William Shaw, a Hampshire gentleman of Scottish descent, who went to Ireland with William III in 1689. A first cousin of Shaw’s grandfather was Robert Shaw, of Bushy Park, who was made a baronet in 1821. As a result, the parents of Shaw were always poor because they had to maintain a false standard without enough money. His father was ineffective and unsuccessful. Hence Shaw inherited most from his independent, unromantic, musical mother of talent.
Childhood : Shaw’s early childhood was not a happy one. He was brought up in a home in which there was no love and affection. His father was a drunkard and did not care for the family. The mother ran the household. She did not have any liking for domestic life and hated her husband. In such an atmosphere was Shaw brought up. Neglected by his parents, he made his life and shaped his character himself. He, however, inherited a sense of humour from his father.
Early Education : Shaw received his early education from Miss Caroline Hill, a gentlewoman. His uncle taught him Latin. received his formal education at Wesley Connexional School, la known as Wesley College of Dublin. But the school bored him and took refuge in idleness. His mother who had a beautiful voice, che in him an interest in music. By the time he was 15, he had real works of almost all great musicians. The National Gallery of provided him with good company. Shaw, while still in his teens, be . an unusually matured lad. He was encouraged by his father liking for literature. Shaw read Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, ba 2nd year english literature books
Dickens’s David Coperfield, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Sir Richard Burton’s Arabian Nights at quite a young age. Though he was considered a stupid pupil by his teachers at Wesley, yet he was more cultured, educated and had more knowledge than others. ba 2nd year english literature books
Jobs : When Shaw was 14 years old, he went to work in the office of a Dublin land agent. He became a junior clerk. He did not like his job but he did it efficiently. His mother had gone to London in 1872 to seek her livelihood as a music teacher. He followed her there in 1876, at the age of 20. For a time he worked in the office of the Edison-Bell Telephone Company. But he had to write, and he decided that writing must be a full time job.
First Attempts of Greatness : When the Edison and Bell companies were united on June 1, 1880, Shaw had to leave his job and he devoted himself fully to writing. During his first nine years in London he wrote five novels. At first no publisher could be found for them, but after some time four of them appeared in indistinct magazines. These were the Irrational Knot (1880), Love among the Artists (1881), An Unsocial Socialist and Cashel Byron’s Profession (1883). His first novel Immaturity remained unpublished. Soon Shaw realised that he was not to be a novelist.
As an Orator and Political Thinker : In 1879-80 Shaw was taken to a debating society, the Zetetical Society by James Lecky. There he came in contact with Sydney Webb and Sydney Oliver. The association helped him to become a master of the platform. Over a period of 12 years, from 1883 to 1895, he delivered a number of speeches here and there.
Shaw become a socialist on September 2, 1882, when he came in contact with the author of Progress and Poverty, Henry George. Within the next two years he thoroughly read Karl Marx’s Das Capital. He also joined the Fabian Society on September 5, 1884.
By now Shaw had become famous. He developed into the most famous Fabian of his time until he resigned from the society in 1911. He also wrote as a critic of art, literature, music and drama, for several magazines. ba 2nd year english literature books
Marriage : In the year 1896, Shaw was introduced to an Irish millionairess, Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend. Her father was a member of the family of estate agents by whom Shaw had been employed. She was a woman of great character and firm will. He married her on June 1, 1898. Her wealth helped him to strengthen his position as a dramatist and her steady companionship was of the greatest value to him until her death in September 1943.
As a Dramatist: Shaw’s career as a dramatist began in 1885. His first play, Widower’s Houses was not welcomed by the Press when it was first staged in 1892. It was followed by The Philanderer (1893) and Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1893). Then came Plays Pleasant an Unpleasant published in 1898. The American productions of Arms and the Man and The Devil’s Disciple (1897) made Shaw financially successful. These two together with the Man of Destiny and Candida were staged in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Russia. Shaw’s: conquest of the American theatre-going public was completed in 1905 with the production of Man and Superman at Hudson Theatre, New York.
The Swedish Academy awarded to him the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1925. With this prize money he set up the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation. ba 2nd year english literature books
His Death : After his wife’s death in 1943, Shaw withdrew from the world. He had fulfilled the mission of his life and was now feeling a severe sense of loneliness. While he was in his garden one day, he fell and broke his leg. He was taken to hospital and he seemed to recover, but his kidney troubled him. He was taken to his home as desired by him. He died at the age of 94 peacefully at his country home at Ayot St. Lawrence (Hertfordshire) on November 2, 1950.
“For the sheer output of his work which embraces innumerable human problems, Shaw can be classed with the greatest creative writers of any age or clime.” ba 2nd year english literature books
SURVEY OF SHAW’S MAJOR WORKS
Terminat hora diem, terminat auctor opus.
George Bernard Shaw had a great passion for writing. He could hot keep himself away from writing; it was his breath. He said, “As long as I live I must write. If I stop writing I should die for want of something to de ” Some of his major plays have been discussed below : 1. Widower’s Houses (1892)
Shaw started writing this play in 1885, in collaboration with William Archer. This was his first play. It had to be left unfinished because William Archer withdrew his collaboration. Seven years later in 1892, Shaw completed it. What happens in the play is a matter of few lines. A young doctor falls in love with a young girl. He is shocked to find that her father became rich by exploiting slum-dwellers. This play deals with slum-landlordism, and municipal jobbery. The play appears to be an economic essay in dramatic form. The characters represent hypocrites. The play was a failure, although it gave a admirable impact to the public because it dealt with the evils of slum landlordism. 2. Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1893)
This play was written in 1893 but it could not be produced before 1925 because of the ban, and the objections raised by J.T. Green and Lord Chamberlain. It is a play on prostitution. In this play the evils of capitalism, which turn women into prostitutes, are brought to light. ba 2nd year english literature books
Mrs. Warren like her sister was born in a slum and became a prostitute and prospered well. Her sister Lizzy, who is only mentioned in the play, collected so much money out of this profession that she retired to a cathedral city. Mrs. Warren becomes the Managing Director of a chain of hotel-brothels. She keeps her only daughter Vivie, who has received the best education, ignorant of the source of her
come. Vivie wants to know the name of her father, but her mother des not know it herself. The situation reaches the climax when Vivie ad her lover Frank Gardner are informed that her father is the vicar of de parish. This would mean that Vivie and Frank are half-sister and other. Vivie revolts and frees herself both from her mother and from
lover. At the end of the play there is a hint that the vicar could have n, but is not, the father of Vivie. ba 2nd year english literature books
3. Arms and the Man (1894)
The title of this play is taken from the first line of th by John Dryden of the Latin poet Virgil’s epic Aeneid ‘Armo Cano’ (I sing of arms and the man). It was written and 1894. In this play, which is an anti-romantic comedy She criticises the romantic ideas about love and war. The
ine of the translation
d’Arma Virumque ten and produced in edy. Shaw opposes and The original name of
is based on an in 1885. The Petkoffs sisting of Major Petkoff
vhose head is full of a to Sergius, a military
Alns and Balkans, because the story is based incident in a war between Bulgaria and Austria in 1885 represent an aristocratic Bulgarian family, consisting of his wife Catherine and their daughter Raina whose he romantic ideas. She is in love with and engaged to Ser hero Bluntschli, a Swiss, who has joined the Serbian arm soldier, has no false ideas about war. One night, as a fugitive into the bedroom of Raina. He tells her that Sergius won the using foul means. Raina is impressed with this man. She start him. On the other hand Sergius develops a fascination towards La a maid-servant. He flirts with her. When he comes to know how bedroom episode, he challenges Bluntschli to a duel. At this mom is revealed that he had been flirting with Louka. So Raina, in the end breaks off with Sergius and decides to marry Bluntschli. 4. Candida (1894)
as a fugitive, he jumps ergius won the battle by
Candida, written in 1894 and produced in 1895, is considered to be one of the best plays of Shaw. It is a serious comedy. Candida, has to choose between her husband Reverend James Morell and her lover poet Eugene Marchbanks. Morell is an able parish priest. He is a noble person and a loving husband. He thinks that he protects his wife with his strength, and ability. But he does not realize that he is a parasite on Candida. Eugene Marchbanks is a poet. He does not like Morell but is not jealous of him. When Candida has to choose between the two, she into the night. prefers her husband who is the weaker of the two. The poet goes out ba 2nd year english literature books
y. He is not a disciple of God; ssarily a disciple of the Devil.
5. The Devil’s Disciple (1896)
The hero Richard Dudgeon is considered to be the Devils DISC as he has no faith in conventional morality. He is not a discip but one who does not obey God is not necessarily a disciple
an with an original morality and is guided by his o The hero is a man with an original morality and i instincts. He is considered to be an outcast from society. nothing particularly devilish about him. The people
him only because he does not accept their re by the British soldiers, mistaking him to be the pri Judith he was staying. He goes away with the solu send her husband to some safe place. Her hus away like a coward. Judith tries to save Richard
from society. But there is him. The people hate and criticise
religion. Richard is arrested im to be the priest, with whose wife, ba 2nd year english literature books
in the soldiers telling Judith to Her husband, Anderson runs muchard. Later on Richard is
saved by Anderson. In this play, Shaw demonstrates that while the hero is guided not by a fixed code of morality but by his in Anthony Anderson is guided by an external code of morality. 6. Caesar and Cleopatra (1898) ba 2nd year english literature books
This play, written in 1898 and performed in London in 1907, been written on a grand scale. The hero is a man who is the master his own mind. However, Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra both ano completely different from the Caesar and Cleopatra of Shakespeare: Shaw follows Plutarch in this play. Caesar of Shaw is not a faithiul portrait of a historical character, but rather his conception of greatness. He is a genius and does not believe in revenge and bloodshed. In this play Cleopatra is a girl of 16. Caesar is fifty years old. Caesar’s rival Pompey had been killed. Ponthius banished Cleopatra. Caesar took Cleopatra’s side and developed her self-confidence. Caesar leaves Egypt. Throughout the play, there is nothing like romantic fascination. Caesar sums up the theme of the play, when he says, “To the end of history murder shall breed murder.” 7. Captain Brassbound’s Conversion (1899)
This play was written in 1899 and produced in 1900. Shaw deals with an important social institution, law and justice in this play. The setting of the play is unusual and the plot is full of sensational happenings. ba 2nd year english literature books
Sir Howard Hallam, a respectable British judge, visits Mogador, a seaport on the west coast of Morocco, in the company of his wife’s sister Lady Cicely Waynflete. Lady Cicely insists on an excursion to the Atlas Mountains, where Shelley’s witch lived. Their host Ranein, a Scotch missionary, provides them an escort under the command of Captain Brassbound, the leader of a smuggling party composed of rascals and ex-convicts. He escorts them bravely but intends handing Sir Howard to Sheikh Sidiel Assif, who hates Christians. Brassbound thinks that his uncle maltreated his mother and robbed him of the property after the death of his father in Brazil. Lady Cicely tries to show him the absurdity of his action. 8. Man and Superman (1903)
Written in 1903, it is one of the finest plays of Shaw which established him as the leader of the new drama. It is a comedy about Shavian philosophy of ‘Life Force’. It has the sub-title “A Comedy and Philosophy”. The play when produced was quite successful and showed the conquest of the audience by the drama of ideas. The play is written on Don Juan theme. In a Spanish legend Don Juan loved and betrayed many women. Among these women one was Donna Anna. Don Juan killed her father in a duel. In this play, Shaw reverses the theme. The woman becomes the pursuer and the man is pursued. In this way Life Force can be fulfilled. In this play Ann is the beloved. John T. lover, tries to run away, but she follows him. A.C. Ward thini Man and Superman Shaw established in English drama a n the comedy of Purpose. 9. John Bull’s Other Island (1904)
This play was written in 1904 at the suggestion of W.B. Yest the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. It is a very powerful and highly reality play about Ireland, the land of humour, delicacy, dreams and roman along with suffering and hardship and exploitation. 10. Major Barbara (1905)
hance ba 2nd year english literature books
The main theme of this play is poverty. The title suggests that Barbara is the chief character in the play, but the principal character appears to be Andrew Undershaft, her father, who is a domineering man. Though the play is full of fun, it is also a tragedy of Barbara who discovers her utter dependence on a corrupt social organism. Shaw appears to have been careless in writing this play, because its acts are unequally constructed. Barbara, the heroine of the play, was the daughter of Mr. Undershaft, a manufacturer of arms. But she did not know this fact as her mother Lady Britomart was separated from her husband. Barbara was brought up by her mother. She became a Major in the Salvation Army, a religious institution. In the end, she is shocked to know that the money to the Salvation Army come from the Capitalists and the manufacturers of Arms like her father. She cries, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” 11. The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906)
This play is a comedy with a death in it. It has been written brilliantly, though it lacks thematic unity. The main theme does not becomalear till the end. The fifth act has been unnecessarily added. All the principal characters except Louis Dubedat appear in the su act of the play. Colenso Ridgeon, a doctor, discovers a new treatment 102 tuberculosis. He is in love with Jennifer, the wife of Dubedat, an artis One day, the doctor meets his friend Dr. Blenkinsop. Both, the an and the doctor are suffering from tuberculosis. Dr. Ridgeon has one spare. He is in a dilemma as to whom he should admit. In the end, ba 2nd year english literature books
13 and finished it in 1919. It is
admits Dr. Blenkinsop and Dubedat dies of tuberculosis. 12. Heartbreak House (1913)
Shaw started writing this play in 1913 and finished it into modelled on Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and is different previous plays of Shaw. The play is full of talk, and loud disc and does not have a proper plot. Many ideas and themes like
and education have been dealt with in this politics, war, love, society and education have been dealt
of talk, and loud discussions, leas and themes like religion,play. Shaw displays all the qualities of his genius through this play. His wit, paradoxes, ideas, criticism, philosophy and propaganda all are present in Heartbreak House. He fills this play with wisdom and beauty. 13. Back to Methuselah (1918) ba 2nd year english literature books
It is a magnificent and bold attempt to dramatise the history, the aspirations and the future of mankind. It is actually a chain of five plays. According to Shaw, this play is his masterpiece. It has been given the subtitle, ‘A Metabiological Pentateuch? He also calls it “a second legend of Creative Evolution without distractions and embellishments.” The play is in five parts. In the first part, the Serpent tells Eve that the only way of living for ever is by bringing forth young ones. Adam agrees to begin again and again as a snake sheds his skin’. The second part shows the zenith of evils. Barnaby brothers have found out the secret of longevity. The third part is 2170 A.D. A clergyman and a maid-servant extend their lives to 250 years and get married. The fourth part depicts 3000 A.D. A new race of long diving of men had emerged. The fifth part shows the year 3120 A.D. Children are born fully developed as if they were men of 18. At last Adam, Eve, Cain, and the Serpent reappear as shadows. Lilith says, “Of life only there is no
end.” ba 2nd year english literature books
14. Saint Joan (1923)
This play is considered to be Shaw’s best play. It consists of six scenes. It reveals the events of two and a quarter years of history from February 1429 to May 1431 in a dramatic form. In this play Shaw has suppressed his tendency towards humour and propaganda. Thus this play is superior to, and different from other plays. The suggestion of writing this play was given to Shaw by his wife, Charlotte. Joan of Arc, a peasant girl used to hear the voices of St. Catherine and St. Margaret. The voices asked her to save her country. Joan put on soldier’s dress and fought so bravely that the English were defeated by the French. The maiden crowned Charles as king at the Rheims Cathedral. This was tolerated neither by clergymen nor by politicians. She was sold to the British as a prisoner of war. An ecclesiastical court tried her and she was burnt as a witch on 31st May, 1431. In 1920 she was canonized as a saint. The Epilogue of the play is ironical. Joan is worshipped by all, but when she wants to come back, nobody is ready to receive her. She exclaims, “O God that madest this beautiful earth, when will it be ready to receive thy saints ? How long, O Lord, how long ?” 15. The Apple Cart (1929)
It is an important play as it reveals Shaw’s political ideas. Shaw did not consider it to be a significant play but it was highly successful from the dramatic point of view. This play fully illustrates Shaw’s wit…… ba 2nd year english literature books,ba 2nd year english literature books,ba 2nd year english literature books,ba 2nd year english literature books,ba 2nd year english literature books
SHAW’S ART OF CHARACTERIZATION
“My practice is to make my characters say not what in real life they could never bring themselves to say even if they understood themselves clearly enough, but the naked soul truth, quite objectively and scientifically presented.”
-Shaw Introduction : The plays written by Shaw are entirely different from the plays of the old kind. He revolted against old and conventional forms of writing. He himself said that he did not construct a play but it developed itself. But this does not mean that Shaw’s plays are entirely shapeless. He developed a new form of dramatic dialogue but also provided a fresh principle of characterization. The characters in the romantic plays were stereotypes as well as based on a false pattern. Shaw has shown how characters can be drawn so that they catch attention and appear fresh. Shaw’s characters have been called the author’s mouthpiece, yet some of them such as Captain Bluntschli, Candida and Proteus are lifelike. They are extraordinary because they come out of deep meditation. They have similarity and individuality. They lack emotions. Women characters assert their existence. They are the reflections of the dramatist.
Characters : Shaw’s characters do not appear as independent as those of Shakespeare. They do not possess their own individuality and independence of action. Some critics consider Shaw’s characters to be mere mouthpieces and spokesmen of Shaw who express only his views and ideas. They are said to be puppets at the ends of wires which are attached to a battery and Shaw is in charge of the current.
Lifelike characters : But these charges are not correct. Most of the characters of Shaw are lifelike. They are, at times, even drawn from life. Bluntschli, Candida, Tarleton, Peter Keegan, Lady Cicely Waynflete, Captain Shotover and Proteus and many others were modelled on real living persons. Bluntschli resembled Sidney Webb. Candida had some likeness with Shaw’s own sister Lucy. Tarleton was modelled on three business princes. Proteus in The Apple Cart is based on the first Labour Prime Minister of England, Ramsay MacDonald.
Extraordinary Characters : The characters of Shaw were not ordinary people. Most of them were remarkable persons. Shaw did not care much about presenting common people in his plays. Sometimes his characters were drawn even from real life. He has contributed many
Similar but Individual : Although some of the charge some common qualities, each of them can be recognised individual traits. His characters fully belong to the play in which appear and cannot be placed just anywhere. They are completely in their own world. His characters are the result of his genius and some of them also appear in the individual characters’ gallery of the British drama. Saint Joan, Magnus, Dolittle, Father Keegan, Lam Doyle and many others are the best examples of his art of characterization. ba 2nd year english literature books
Characters Lack Emotion : It is generally noticed that Shaw’s characters are not affected by emotions. This is because Shaw hated everything that was conventional, and so hated emotional characters. He tries to avoid creating emotional situations in his plays. In Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Vivie Warren does not display any emotion when she comes to know of her uncertain and unknown parentage. Thoughts in his plays overrule feelings. But his characters do not lack emotion completely. This is clear by the characterization of Saint Joan. He has created powerful emotional scenes in Saint Joan, Mrs. Warren’s
Profession, The Doctor’s Dilemma, and Heartbreak House.
Leading Characters : Just as Shakespeare was famous for his chief characters-Antonio, Petruchio, Hamlet, Browne, Leontes, Viola, Rosalind and Helena, Shaw is also remembered for his leading characters Bluntschli, Larry, Major Barbara, Saint Joan and Valentine. But they are not constructed according to the Shakespearean tradition. The heroes are not noble and romantic bu they are intellectuals, who have complete self-control over themselves. They are full of original and new ideas. Their actions are unconscio and their expressions are fine. His hero has been called “superma
hero”. ba 2nd year english literature books
Shaw’s Characters are Contrasted : The leading characters are first built up in the play and then contrasted with other characters. Such characters act as foils to one another. Generally the leading characters are joined by equally powerful and talented characters. Al times they are even better than the leading characters. In The Apple Car the Prime Minister serves as a foil to King Magnus
Qualities of His Characters : The characters of Shaw talk much. They are interesting, charming and attractive. Their speeches are full of wit and intelligence. Though sometimes it appears that they are only representative of shaws ideas,
Conclusion- thus, shaw is a great dramatist who created many famous and important characters, Character creation is the necessary part of a dramatist word and shaw also but not ignore it.
SHAW’S THEORY OF LIFE-FORCE
“Shaw’s gospel of creative Evolution and his belief in the were opposed to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection,
-A. C. Ward Introduction : Shaw had his own philosophy of life. He the in a new way about each object in the universe. He expressed ideas through his plays. He believed that a play is mainly base ideas. Without going deep into his mind it is very difficult to complet understand and enjoy his plays. Various things related to man and this world make up his philosophy of life. He believed in socialism and in Life-force and these form the basis of his philosophy. He gave his own individual description of Bergson’s Theory of Creative Evolution. The concept of Creative Evolution was a religion to him. Nietzsche’s idea of Superman was the basis of Shaw’s theory of Life-force. This philosophy of Life-force was expressed in the play Man and Superman. The nucleus of this concept is that a woman is a pursuer and man is the pursued.
His Philosophy: Shaw was greatly impressed by Karl Marx and became a strict socialist. He, however, did not want the people to adopt socialism by force, but through constant propaganda about its principles they should become socialists. He was strongly against the idea of owning large properties by some, while the others may have no place to live. He wanted the people to be given equal opportunities for development. He was an opponent of capitalism. He believed capitalism to be responsible for all social problems. Poverty is also there because of capitalism. He even had novel ideas about woman, marriage and family life. He was a political writer also. Though he was considered to be a democrat, he did not like the present form of democracy. While reading Shaw’s works it appears as if he did not believe in religion. He was, however, not a non-believer; he did not like the evils that had entered religion and the Christianity. He believed in Jesus and his teachings, though he put them in his own way. ba 2nd year english literature books
His New Religion : After criticising Christianity, Shaw resented a new religion—his own religion. He called this new religion, religion of Creative Evolution, and considered it necessary in our This theory of Creative Evolution strongly opposed Darwin’s f natural selection. Darwin’s theory had made man only a
ings. But Shaw declared that men and women creature of his surroundings. But Shaw declared the
theory of natural selection. Dar
conscious and purposeful agents in the process of Creative Evolution.
Influence of Nietzsche: Shaw’s new religion was also affected by Nietzsche’s superman. But while Nietzsche’s superman was completely materialistic, Shaw’s concept of superman and his religion
& spiritual. Nietzsche’s superman represents power, strength,
fishness, animal behaviour and attacking nature. But Shaw’s superman is much higher and superior to him. He is wise and practical, civilised and intentionally works with the Life-force.
The Life-force : Shaw’s philosophy is the test of that logic of events which is working through men and all the forces of the world. Here and there he calls this test, the Life-force. He is a believer in the human reason; a disciple of Samuel Butler, he believes that all that the Life-force has achieved it stores away within the man, to be expressed afterwards in the quieter voice of intuition.
Its Meaning : Shaw used the term the ‘Life-force’ to indicate a power that continually worked upon the hearts of men and tried to take them towards a better and fuller life. He regarded Life-force to be the guiding, and shaping factor in the progress of the world. For this the necessary condition is individual and collective will, effort and organization. Co-operation of man would make the work of Life-force smooth and speedy. If man acts against the Life-force he brings misfortune upon himself.
Working of Life-force : The Life-force, or divine care, and Nature is within us. It is imperfect. It is trying to reach perfection. Man provides it ‘hands’ and must work for this perfection, must desire this perfection. Although man is unconscious of the force working in him, he must desire himself to greater awareness. He must will himself, with all his power of gathering knowledge, to take the leap upward from one developing stage to the next. He must create a new being, who in turn and by the same process shall create another being. As a result, after a long time, the world which we know and love shall be left behind and life shall only be a ‘whirlpool of pure intelligence’.
Display of Life-force : Bernard Shaw first displayed his philosophy of the Life-force in Man and Superman. In the form of the term-Creative Evolution-Shaw deals with this theme again in Back lo Methuselah. It is a power which works for the betterment of the race
leads to a progressive development of life. In a play of Shaw, the
orce expresses itself in the form of superman hero. A superman nero is the attempt of the Life-force to create something bette
Te-force to create something better than he has strength of mind and is in contrast with the ou
persons. ba 2nd year english literature books
SHAW AS A SATIRIST AND SOCIALIST
“mis by the jingling bell of the jester that I have made people listen
-Shaw to me. All genuinely intellectual work is humorous.”
Introduction : Shaw appeared to be always happy, but his laughter was to hide his sufferings. He took everything in a light mood, so as to lessen his pain. This tendency to treat everything comically, he inherited from his father, who had a great sense of humour. In this way his father was able to bear his losses bravely. Sometimes he was misunderstood by his friends as unfeeling because he could laugh even in the saddest situations. Satire and social reform mingle themselves in the plays of Shaw. This makes him different from Pope and Dryden. Shaw’s socialism is based upon the idea that capitalism is a disease and private property is the root cause of all evils. As a satirist, Shaw presents a social criticism of life.
Shaw as a Satirist : Satire is some writing which makes fun of a particular individual or group. It is the expression of the sense of amusement or distaste aroused by some foolish or improper description but the humour should be clearly seen in it. Thus the main requirements of satire are humour, literary form of expression, desire to change and enlarging reality. A good satirist criticises for the purpose of removing certain evils in the society or in a person through laughter and by magnifying reality. A satirist is often bitter, sharp and
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Social Reform : Shaw’s purpose in life was social reform. He used the medium of his plays to speak against all the evil traditions and institutions. Shaw is a comic genius but his comedy has serious and philosophic thoughts behind it. There is a big element of satire in the comedy of Shaw. He was against the conventional morality and all the social institutions, and all his fun was directed at these. He wants to change all the old ways and form a new social conduct which will support the work of the Life-force. He has used irony and sarcasm to reveal the actual picture of the outdated customs. He used humour and satire because it allows people to tolerate facts without feeling of hurt.
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Satire in his Plays : Shaw is more a social reformer than a satirist. He is not in the same category of satirist as Pope and Dryden because they were simple and complete satirists. Through his plays Shaw has exposed the reality of old social institutions, codes and beliefs He first exaggerates em and then in the end
with only one or two
the institutions of tatorship and ideals
iling morals and dowers’ Houses is a satire on
in the institutions of
lay dealing with the n anti-romantic comedy,
and shown their hollowness. His method is simple. He first their faults and in this manner laughs at them and
nulls down old idols. He did not deal with only o
opposed a number of them. He attacked the instit ce sex and family, war, marriage, democracy, dictatorship of morality and religion. He attacked all th beliefs and challenged them. His play Widowers’ Howe slum landlordism. The Philanderer is a satire on the insti marriage and love. Mrs. Warren’s Profession is a play dealine problem of prostitution. Arms and the Man is an anti-romantie attacks idealism–the wrong and false notions about politics and In Candida, once again the institution of marriage and under attack. In Man and Superman conventional respectabilis the romantic adoration of woman have been ridiculed in i Barbara Shaw attacks poverty. The Doctor’s Dilemma, eyno hollowness of the medical profession. In Fanny’s First Play the mid: in Heartbreak House European materialism, and in Saint Joan the state, the Church and the society who want to suppress the truth boun been satirised. In The Apple Cart, he has satirised the institution of democracy in its present form.
marriage and love comes
Shaw’s Socialism : Capitalism, slum-landlordism, prostitution poverty and corruption were the evils present in society. Shaw’s cure for all these evils is socialism. Socialism for him meant equality of income for everyone disregarding character, qualities, age or sex. Thus his socialism is mainly related to distribution of wealth. This was his basic principle.
Shaw as a Socialist : Shaw was a great social reformer. In 1928, he produced The Intelligent Women’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism which is considered the most clear guide to socialist theory His socialism also influenced his plays greatly. Many of his plays des with social problems. Karl Marx’s Das Capital changed his outlook.
realised that capitalism is the main cause of all evils in socie
Capitalism a disease : He calls capitalism a disease. All hi he made a propaganda against it and all the greedy and sells The church, school, press and the courts of law all have by them. Through their wealth they buy votes and capture in the Parliament. In a society controlled by capitalists on suffer, in the name of law of justice as well as of religion. defeats every form of government except that of corrupo Apple Cart exposes the way in which both democracy and
m a disease. All his life the greedy and selfish people & e courts of law all have been corrupted to
es and capture all the seats capitalists only the poor
of religion. Capitalism
helpless in capitalist economy.
Evils of Private Property : The private property basis of capitalism also gives rise to a number
orrupt people. The of acy and royalty are of
property which is the opp lumber of evils.
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