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Major Barbara

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  4,307 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire armaments manufacturer, loves money and despises poverty. His estranged daughter Barbara, on the other hand, shows her love for the poor by throwing her energies into her work as a Major in the Salvation Army, and sees her father as another soul to be saved. But when the Army needs funds to keep going, it is Undershaft who saves the day wit ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published November 30th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1905)
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Nov 30, 2016 Sawsan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 أندرشافت المليونير صاحب مصانع السلاح هي الشخصية الأكثر حضورا في المسرحية
قوته في الوضوح, يفعل ويقول ما يؤمن به بدون أي محاولة للتخفي أو الإدعاء
Laura Verret
Apr 28, 2011 Laura Verret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-and-plays
A Marxist play.
What more can I say?
Shaw's one of a kind,
And he had a great mind,
But he used it to say
That he'd found a way
To live without truth -
He believed it, forsooth!
He fought against God,
And built his facade
By claiming that reason
Was funding his treason.
He poked at all morals
And fueled all his quarrels
With words smooth as honey -
In short, he was funny!
It's not hard to mock
Or even to shock,
But for all his jeering
His methods are queering,
For Shaw fails to show
Why his strange credo
Is any
A witty but devastatingly subversive play which mocks Christianity in general and the Salvation Army in particular. And as is always the case with Shaw, it comes with a long-winded, preachy preface designed to hammer home the author's ideology, just in case the stupid reader did not get it from the play.
Lina AL Ojaili
شو يتناول قضايا العملية الاقتصادية في صراع مع المثالية الأخلاقية
Jun 06, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda
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 privilege and a battle of wills. All
wrapped up in a romance, the return of a long lost father and
a little matter of finding a foundling to carry on the Undershaft
arms and gunpowder empire.

2/2: While Ba
Dec 09, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 irony I wasn't properly getting? I should re-read it. But, ironic or not, full marks to Shaw for prescience: the term "military-industrial complex" wouldn't even be invented for another few decades, and I do ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Shriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who think highly of morality
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 out of it today, when I started reading it again!
Now about the play:
You read a lot of plays. Some are tragic, some are comic and some are simply Shavian. You go about the world, with your own notion
وائل المنعم
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 think the most remarkable element about it is its characters, Shaw's sarcasm of every one - except maybe Undershaft - is clear - at least for me. In this screen version he is free to present the scenes as
Nov 22, 2014 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 the perfect representative of the military-industrial complex. Peace itself depends upon Undershaft
Read as a college freshman, struck with Shaw's insight and character portrayal. My Freshman Humanities pr
Aug 13, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read as part of my Kindle omnibus "The Plays of Shaw".

Very witty satire about Barbara Undershaft, a major in the Salvation Army, and her family, most notably her father who owns & operates a munitions factory. The debate about physical versus moral power is a bit wordy in places otherwise I might have given this a 5 star rating. Now I am off to watch the film version with Rex Harrison and Wendy Hiller...
Eric Kibler
Dec 20, 2015 Eric Kibler rated it it was amazing
G.B.S. is a masterful devil's advocate. In this play, his most vibrant character, Undershaft, is a capitalist; a munitions magnate. He makes a better case for individualism and capitalism than Ayn Rand ever did. You wouldn't know from reading this that the author was a socialist.

Shaw was a lifelong member of the socialist Fabian Society, who advocated the technique of permeation. Its members, many of whom had friends in the halls of power, could express their ideas to those politicians persisten
The problem with Shaw is that I always feel crabbier when I read him. Even Pygmalion, which strikes me as a superior play, makes me slightly irritable, and Major Barbara doesn’t have any musical tunes to hum while you’re trudging through Shaw’s dreary I Am So Keenly Critical and Nuanced dialogue. The other problem is that, in my opinion, he’s neither keen nor nuanced. He’s bigoted and cranky, and his weak humor begs an unfavorable comparison to Oscar Wilde, who probably didn’t like this play eit ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
When we talk about God, by extension we are talking about poverty, illiteracy, weakness, and suffering. Wealth is a source of happiness, arrogance, pride, and oppression. The former view is held by Mr. Undershaft while the latter view by he daughter, Barbara. Question is, can we all be wealthy? Can we aolish poverty? Gearge Bernard Shaw thinks we can. He proposes the introduction of the minimum wage for everyone. He through Mr. Undershaft believes that poverty is the worst crime on earth.

Uday Desai
Jun 10, 2011 Uday Desai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Uday by: Cheryl
This is the first play /work by Shaw that I read, and I liked it so much, even it is old written in 1905. I am going to read his other plays and novels. Well I am going to read it again and may be I will edit this review.

If God Gave the Hand, Let Not Man Withold the Sword.

All Have the Right to Fight: None Have the Right to Judge.

To Man the Weapon: To Heaven the Victory.


Having said this, The play Major Barbara is wr
محمود النوري

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، يجب أن تكون في تمام الإستعداد له فهو مستعد لك تمام الإستعداد، وإلا غلبك وأوقعك في شرك أنت صنعته بيدك.

حسناً.. المال لا يشتري الأمتعة فقط، يشتري النفوس، يشتري المبادئ والقيم، فلندع الشعارات الزائفة جانباً...
Rob Roy
May 02, 2015 Rob Roy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1000-list, play
This is a play about capitalism verses human rights, about the military industrial complex, what religion is really about, and what is right and wrong. Yet, this play was written over a hundred years ago, yet is as fresh as if it were written today. There will not be a reader or viewer, despite their political or religious leanings, that will not have at least one long cherished belief challenged to its core. Many plays are cotton candy, this is a meat and potatoes play. Lastly, you will laugh a ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater-poetry
This is now the third time I have read Major Barbara for it stands as the ultimate question/answer primer on the necessity of war and the arguments against it. Essentially it is about a young woman who is a Salvation Army girl and her father, the world's largest arms dealer. Their tete-a-tete and the explosions that happen in the relationship have inspired many other books, plays and essays. If you can only read two plays by Shaw, let it be Pygmalion and Major Barbara. If you only read one, let ...more
Jun 08, 2016 Nicholas rated it really liked it
Another win for Shaw.
I really like this play. Shaw pushes the boundary of society. Answers our darkest questions about society without any remorse or fear. This play bashes all the "do-gooders" out there by essentially saying "Yes you do good. But is it really good is it causing more harm? How can you stand in the light smiling whilst shaking hands with the dark? The same dark that you spit on."
It's a play that really gets you thinking about the way society is built. Are our actions of good really befitting the soci
Feb 19, 2013 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is the Undershaft inheritance. I shall hand on my torch to my daughter. She shall make my converts and preach my gospel – "

George Bernard Shaw is rarely easy and never simple. He continually pushed boundaries and tested limits, and his 1905 play ‘Major Barbara’ is no exception.

Set against the backdrop of Edwardian Britain, where the problem of huge slum populations would eventually lead to the 1906 landslide victory of the Liberal Party and the creation of the welfare state, Shaw explores th
I feel like the genius of the play's ideas merits more than 2 stars; HOWEVER, this wasn't an enjoyable read. Far from it. From hopelessly trying to decipher the writing style Shaw uses to portray the dialect of the poor to struggling to determine what exactly Shaw was recommending, I found it difficult to appreciate Major Barbara.

What I think Shaw is trying to say is that only through wealth can we eradicate poverty. Which, in the case of Undershaft using his munitions factory to outfit potenti
Victor Lameirão
May 09, 2014 Victor Lameirão rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not preachy in spite many of what many of the other reviewers say.

Shaw is not taking a moral high ground and telling people what the should think.

He is raising the level of discourse, he is putting important themes and subjects on the spectators minds.

This is not a play to agree or disagree with. It's one to make people talk about important things when they leave the theater.

I, unfortunately, didn't have the pleasure to see it on the stage.

A great and short read nonetheless.
Feb 04, 2013 Samar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

يطرح برنارد شو هنا المشكلة العويصة نفسها في كل زمان ، الخير
و الشر .. فالخير الذي يتمثل في جيش الخلاص هنا يدعمه في الواقع
شركة ضخمه للمشروبات الروحيه و أخرى تتاجر بالأسلحة و القنابل
فإن هذه المسألة غير المحلوله بشكلها الكامل و الكلي تجد دائماً آراء مختلفه
و متباينه أيضاً ، ربما لصعوبة تصور أن وراء كل خير شر وراء كل شر خير ما
Adria Maria
Sep 16, 2015 Adria Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaw always manages to make tipically unloveable characters quite likeable. I love that all his characters are flawed, and there's no perfect hero in his plays. That results in a highly enjoyable read, devoid of any eyeroll worthy moments where the hero proves how much better they are than everyone else.
May 29, 2011 Ráid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ليست تلك المسرحية المليئة بالأحداث لمن يهتم بذلك بدايةً :)

مسرحية تظهر فيها شخصية برنارد شو وفلسفته الخاصه تجاه السياسه هذه المرّه ، حيث يلعب الفقر الدور الأساسي فيها ، حيث يعرض شو بإسلوبه المختلف في الكتابه عن صراع الفقر مع حياة عادله يطلبها الجميع .. وحياة اخرى يعيشها الجميع !
Awab AlSaati
Jan 28, 2016 Awab AlSaati rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Okay... Why haven't I read anything by Bernard Shaw before!
This play is absolutely brilliant. And it's funny! It reminded me of the musical plays my mother used to put, so full of symbolism and hidden politics. And it's ironic, since she resembles many of the characteristics of Lady Britomart.
Dec 12, 2016 Hanan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read it for the first time when I was a teenager.. The world seemed less pink more gray when I finished reading it,I felt hopeless and depressed yet more open changed my perspective regarding wars and people.. I think it's beauty lies within straightforwardness.
Feb 09, 2017 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved it. it was funny plus I liked the commentary on religion and poverty.
Oct 20, 2016 Oelnoury rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
الشر دائما يفوز. وهذا صحيح ولكن ليس بهذه الطريقه العمياء طريقه( انتا ابن سوء اذا ساعطيك مصانعي!! ). مظرحيه عاديه اميل للسوء احداثها غير ملائمه او متناسقه حتي
Jun 26, 2015 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed My Fair Lady/Pygmalion, so I thought I'd take a crack at Shaw's other plays. Though this one certainly had moments to it, I didn't care for the whole structure of it. A main problem I have is the identity of the protagonist. The play is named "Major Barbara" and the most interesting moral questions/dramatic crisis seem to center around her, but she constantly being subverted by other voices.

In my opinion, Barbara is the one person in the play that has the potential for growt
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George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but ...more
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“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” 539 likes
“You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” 101 likes
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