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Major Barbara

George Bernard Shaw

Book Overview: 

George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army. Shaw's comedy, as always, delves into political and social issues of the period, and provides a roster of finely- and humorously-drawn characters.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .My morality--my religion--must have a place for cannons and torpedoes in it.

STEPHEN [coldly--almost sullenly] You speak as if there were half a dozen moralities and religions to choose from, instead of one true morality and one true religion.

UNDERSHAFT. For me there is only one true morality; but it might not fit you, as you do not manufacture aerial battleships. There is only one true morality for every man; but every man has not the same true morality.

LOMAX [overtaxed] Would you mind saying that again? I didn't quite follow it.

CUSINS. It's quite simple. As Euripides says, one man's meat is another man's poison morally as well as physically.

UNDERSHAFT. Precisely.

LOMAX. Oh, that. Yes, yes, yes. True. True.

STEPHEN. In other words, some men are honest and some are scoundr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

After reading so many plays by Shaw, I liked only this play, In it i like Shaw the satiric but not necessarily Shaw the intellectual, although i preference socialism, but have an unrest about the the western Europeans - and Americans - Socialists specially the celebrity ones.

Back to the play, I t...more

شو يتناول قضايا العملية الاقتصادية في صراع مع المثالية الأخلاقية

I last read this play as a teenager, and I don't remember it as well as I would ideally wish. I recall the moral as being, roughly, that the Christian world-view was entirely compatible with the ethos of the military-industrial complex. Can that really be right? Maybe there was some level of iron...more

Shaw's notion of poverty is a crime and poor people must put to death is a radical idea. I am not convinced. All characters get wallowed in the money that Andrew Undershaft throws upon them. Major Barbara agrees to save well-fed souls which connotes a new doctrine of religion.

- تتجاذب هذه المسرحية بين نيتشة وميكافيللي، وتصوب على المفاهيم "المسيحية" للمحبة و "ادارة الخد الأيمن" والهزء والإستهزاء ب "جبش الخلاص" ومفهوم "الخلاص"، وهي تظهر لنا عبقرية برناردشو في صياغة الحوار وقدرته على اجتراح التعلبل المناسب لكل قضية واخذ الحوار في اتجاه "الأقوى" والأكثر سيطرة ونفوذاً.

- بر...more

First of all, I'd like to mention that 'Major Barbara' just like the female protagonist of the play, 'saved my soul' not through the salvation army but by being the first book I had read in almost a fortnight! The depression that had followed was unbearable and 'Major Barbara' literally pulled me...more

مسرحية من 3 فصول كتبها برنارد شو عام 1905
مناقشات وتساؤلات عن مفاهيم الخير والأخلاق والشر, المال والفقر
هل الفقر جريمة؟ هل للشر أكثر من وجه وهل بإمكانه أن يدعم الخير؟
يعرض شو ارتباط الأمن والحرية بالمال والسلاح, فهما القوة التي تحكم وتفرض شروط الحرب والسلام
شخصية المليونير صاحب مصانع السلاح هي الشخصي...more

قال أفلاطون يا صديقي: إن المجتمع لا يكون آمناً ما لم يصنع الفلاسفة الإغريق البارود أو أن يصبح صانعوا البارود فلاسفة للإغريق.

مسرحية من ثلاث فصول تمثل الصراع الإنساني على مر التاريخ بين الخير والشر، إبداع لا متناهي من العملاق الأيرلندي وأحداث تتسم بالجدية والتناسق.

حينما تستدعي شيطان إلى منزلك، يج...more

From BBC Radio 4 - Drama
After a long absence George Bernard Shaw returns to the Radio 4 airwaves in this new 2 part drama.
Starring Eleanor Tomlinson as Barbara and Rebecca Front as Lady Britomart.

1/2: Barbara's mission is to save East End souls in the West Ham
Salvation shelter. A tale of rich...more

A brilliant summation of the place of capital in war-mongering and peace-striving. The Salvation Army proposes peace, but in order to keep the charity going to support peace, Major Barbara elicits contributions from her father Undershaft the munitions maker. In Eisenhower's term, Undershaft is th...more

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