The Project Gutenberg EBook of Major Barbara, by George Bernard Shaw This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. MAJOR BARBARA by GEORGE BERNARD SHAW. Adobe PDF icon. Download this document as File size: MB What's this? light bulb idea. MAJOR BARBARA: FIRST AID TO. CRITICS. N.B. The Euripidean verses in the second act of Major Barbara are not by me, or even directly by.

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Barbara Undershaft is a Major in the Salvation Army who takes pride in her righteous vocation: she feeds the poor and hungry as long as they repent their sinful. Major Barbara was first produced by London's Royal Court Theatre in It played is the first time A.C.T. has produced Major Barbara. The Virtual Library - Free online ebooks in pdf, epub, site and other formats. Free ebooks Major Barbara. English. Book ID: Major Barbara. Book cover.

Barbara sadly leaves the shelter in disillusionment. According to tradition, the heir to the Undershaft fortune must be an orphan who can be groomed to run the factory. Lady Britomart tries to convince Undershaft to bequeath the business to his son Stephen, but he will not. He says that the best way to keep the factory in the family is to find a foundling and marry him to Barbara. Later, Barbara and the rest of her family accompany her father to his munitions factory.

They are all impressed by its size and organisation. Cusins declares that he is a foundling, and is thus eligible to inherit the business.

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Undershaft eventually overcomes Cusins' moral scruples about the nature of the business. Cusins' acceptance makes Barbara more content to marry him, not less, because bringing a message of salvation to the factory workers, rather than to London slum-dwellers, will bring her more fulfilment.

Meredith was on the panel. Undershaft's unscrupulous sale of weapons to any and all bidders, as well as his government influence and more pertinently his company's method of succession to a foundling rather than a son , tie him especially to Krupp steel. While he finds Undershaft manipulative and morally reprehensible, he can't help but like him. Although his parents are legally wed in Australia, their marriage is not recognized in England.

The law thus makes him a foundling and eligible to take over Undershaft's business. He wants to help the poor and pledges to use the business to help end war.

Major Barbara (Webster's French Thesaurus Edition)

Lady Britomart Lady Britomart is a domineering mother who separated from her husband because he refused to conform to her ideas of morality and because he was reluctant to make their son Stephen heir to the business. She wants to ensure her children have enough money to continue their comfortable lifestyle. Although she objects to the source of her husband's fortune, she accepts their dependence upon it.

Cusins [disgusted] Half! You call yourself a gentleman; and you offer me half!! I do not call myself a gentleman; but I offer you half. This to your future partner! You are selling your own soul, Dolly, not mine. Leave me out of the bargain, please. I will give you three fifths; but that is my last word. Done in the eye. Why, I only get eight hundred, you know.

By the way, Mac, I am a classical scholar, not an arithmetical one. Is three fifths more than half or less? More, of course. I would have taken two hundred and fifty. What will Lazarus say? Lazarus is a gentle romantic Jew who cares for nothing but string quartets and stalls at fashionable theatres.

He will get the credit of your rapacity in money matters, as he has hitherto had the credit of mine. You are a shark of the first order, Euripides. So much the better for the firm! Is the bargain closed, Dolly? Does your soul belong to him now? No: the price is settled: that is all.

The real tug of war is still to come. What about the moral question? There is no moral question in the matter at all, Adolphus. You must simply sell cannons and weapons to people whose cause is right and just, and refuse them to foreigners and criminals. Undershaft [determinedly] No: none of that.

What on earth is the true faith of an Armorer?

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To give arms to all men who offer an honest price for them, without respect of persons or principles: to aristocrat and republican, to Nihilist and Tsar, to Capitalist and Socialist, to Protestant and Catholic, to burglar and policeman, to black man white man and yellow man, to all sorts and conditions, all nationalities, all faiths, all follies, all causes and all crimes. The fourth had no literary turn; so he did not write up anything; but he sold cannons to Napoleon under the nose of George the Third.

The sixth, my master, was the best of all. After that, there was nothing left for the seventh to say. I shall sell cannons to whom I please and refuse them to whom I please. So there! From the moment when you become Andrew Undershaft, you will never do as you please again. If power were my aim I should not come here for it.

YOU have no power. None of my own, certainly. I have more power than you, more will. You do not drive this place: it drives you. And what drives the place? Undershaft [enigmatically] A will of which I am a part.

Barbara [startled] Father! Do you know what you are saying; or are you laying a snare for my soul? The place is driven by the most rascally part of society, the money hunters, the pleasure hunters, the military promotion hunters; and he is their slave.

Not necessarily. I will take an order from a good man as cheerfully as from a bad one. I can make cannons: I cannot make courage and conviction. You tire me, Euripides, with your morality mongering. Ask Barbara: SHE understands. Tell him, my love, what power really means.

Major Barbara

Barbara [hypnotized] Before I joined the Salvation Army, I was in my own power; and the consequence was that I never knew what to do with myself. When I joined it, I had not time enough for all the things I had to do. Undershaft [approvingly] Just so. And why was that, do you suppose? Yesterday I should have said, because I was in the power of God. But you came and showed me that I was in the power of Bodger and Undershaft.

Today I feel — oh! Sarah: do you remember the earthquake at Cannes, when we were little children? That is how I feel in this place today. I stood on the rock I thought eternal; and without a word of warning it reeled and crumbled under me. I was safe with an infinite wisdom watching me, an army marching to Salvation with me; and in a moment, at a stroke of your pen in a cheque book, I stood alone; and the heavens were empty.

That was the first shock of the earthquake: I am waiting for the second. Come, come, my daughter! What do we do here when we spend years of work and thought and thousands of pounds of solid cash on a new gun or an aerial battleship that turns out just a hairsbreadth wrong after all? Scrap it. Scrap it without wasting another hour or another pound on it. Well, you have made for yourself something that you call a morality or a religion or what not.

Well, scrap it. Scrap it and get one that does fit. That is what is wrong with the world at present. In machinery it does very well; but in morals and religion and politics it is working at a loss that brings it nearer bankruptcy every year.

If your old religion broke down yesterday, get a newer and a better one for tomorrow. Oh how gladly I would take a better one to my soul! But you offer me a worse one. Justify yourself: show me some light through the darkness of this dreadful place, with its beautifully clean workshops, and respectable workmen, and model homes.

Cleanliness and respectability do not need justification, Barbara: they justify themselves. I see no darkness here, no dreadfulness. In your Salvation shelter I saw poverty, misery, cold and hunger.

You gave them bread and treacle and dreams of heaven. I give from thirty shillings a week to twelve thousand a year. They find their own dreams; but I look after the drainage.

And their souls? I save their souls just as I saved yours. Barbara [revolted] You saved my soul! What do you mean? I fed you and clothed you and housed you. I took care that you should have money enough to live handsomely — more than enough; so that you could be wasteful, careless, generous.

That saved your soul from the seven deadly sins. Barbara [bewildered] The seven deadly sins! Yes, the deadly seven.

I lifted them from your spirit. I enabled Barbara to become Major Barbara; and I saved her from the crime of poverty. Do you call poverty a crime? The worst of crimes.

All the other crimes are virtues beside it: all the other dishonors are chivalry itself by comparison. Poverty blights whole cities; spreads horrible pestilences; strikes dead the very souls of all who come within sight, sound or smell of it. What you call crime is nothing: a murder here and a theft there, a blow now and a curse then: what do they matter?

But there are millions of poor people, abject people, dirty people, ill fed, ill clothed people.

They poison us morally and physically: they kill the happiness of society: they force us to do away with our own liberties and to organize unnatural cruelties for fear they should rise against us and drag us down into their abyss. Only fools fear crime: we all fear poverty. Well, bring him to me here; and I will drag his soul back again to salvation for you. Not by words and dreams; but by thirty-eight shillings a week, a sound house in a handsome street, and a permanent job.

In three weeks he will have a fancy waistcoat; in three months a tall hat and a chapel sitting; before the end of the year he will shake hands with a duchess at a Primrose League meeting, and join the Conservative Party.

And will he be the better for that? You know he will. He will be better fed, better housed, better clothed, better behaved; and his children will be pounds heavier and bigger. That will be better than an American cloth mattress in a shelter, chopping firewood, eating bread and treacle, and being forced to kneel down from time to time to thank heaven for it: knee drill, I think you call it.

It is cheap work converting starving men with a Bible in one hand and a slice of bread in the other. I will undertake to convert West Ham to Mahometanism on the same terms. Try your hand on my men: their souls are hungry because their bodies are full. And leave the east end to starve? Undershaft [his energetic tone dropping into one of bitter and brooding remembrance] I was an east ender. I moralized and starved until one day I swore that I would be a fullfed free man at all costs — that nothing should stop me except a bullet, neither reason nor morals nor the lives of other men.

I was a dangerous man until I had my will: now I am a useful, beneficent, kindly person. That is the history of most self-made millionaires, I fancy. When it is the history of every Englishman we shall have an England worth living in. Stop making speeches, Andrew. This is not the place for them. Undershaft [punctured] My dear: I have no other means of conveying my ideas.

Your ideas are nonsense. You got oil because you were selfish and unscrupulous. Not at all. I had the strongest scruples about poverty and starvation. Your moralists are quite unscrupulous about both: they make virtues of them. I had rather be a thief than a pauper. I had rather be a murderer than a slave. I hate poverty and slavery worse than any other crimes whatsoever. And let me tell you this. Poverty and slavery have stood up for centuries to your sermons and leading articles: they will not stand up to my machine guns.

Kill them. Is that your remedy for everything? It is the final test of conviction, the only lever strong enough to overturn a social system, the only way of saying Must. Let six hundred and seventy fools loose in the street; and three policemen can scatter them. But huddle them together in a certain house in Westminster; and let them go through certain ceremonies and call themselves certain names until at last they get the courage to kill; and your six hundred and seventy fools become a government.

Your pious mob fills up ballot papers and imagines it is governing its masters; but the ballot paper that really governs is the paper that has a bullet wrapped up in it.I thought she was a woman of the people, and that a marriage with a professor of Greek would be far beyond the wildest social ambitions of her rank.

Barbara and Cusins, left alone together, look at one another silently.

Your conscience is clear and your duty done when you have called everybody names. I have got rid of the bribe of bread. Infernal nonsense!

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