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Major Barbara

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By: (1856-1950)

Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw is a thought-provoking and insightful play that delves into the complexities of capitalism, religion, and morality. The story follows Barbara Undershaft, a strong-willed Salvation Army officer who is torn between her beliefs in helping the poor and her father's unscrupulous arms manufacturing business. Shaw masterfully weaves together themes of idealism, corruption, and human nature, creating a compelling narrative that challenges the reader to question their own values and beliefs.

The characters in Major Barbara are richly developed and each brings a unique perspective to the play. Barbara is a complex protagonist who undergoes a personal transformation throughout the story, grappling with the conflict between her moral principles and the realities of the world around her. Her father, Andrew Undershaft, is a captivating figure whose pragmatic approach to life contrasts sharply with Barbara's more idealistic views.

Shaw's sharp wit and satirical humor shine through in Major Barbara, making it both entertaining and thought-provoking. Through clever dialogue and engaging interactions between characters, Shaw effectively critiques societal norms and institutions while also exploring deeper philosophical questions about the nature of good and evil.

Overall, Major Barbara is a compelling and thought-provoking play that challenges readers to consider their own beliefs and values in a world that is often fraught with moral ambiguity. Shaw's skillful storytelling and keen insights make this play a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences today.

Book Description:
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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