The title is quite enough for me. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Your levities and audacities are like the loves and comforts prayed for by Desdemona: they increase, even as your days do grow. We live in an atmosphere of shame. Whether he has ever really been may be doubted: at all events the enormous superiority of Woman's natural position in this matter is telling with greater and greater force.
I shall do so now, with your permission. She'll commit every crime a respectable woman can; and she'll justify every one of them by saying that it was the wish of her guardians. It may seem to them that nobody who doubts this can be in a state of grace. So, which character in the play comes closest to the Superman? The question is important on the threshold of a drama of ideas; for under such circumstances everything depends on whether his adolescence belonged to the sixties or to the eighties. I rail at the theistic credulity of Voltaire, the amoristic superstition of Shelley, the revival of tribal soothsaying and idolatrous rites which Huxley called Science and mistook for an advance on the Pentateuch, no less than at the welter of ecclesiastical and professional humbug which saves the face of the stupid system of violence and robbery which we call Law and Industry.
On the other hand, those forces of middle class public opinion which hardly existed for a Spanish nobleman in the days of the first Don Juan, are now triumphant everywhere. Hence there is a driving towards truth in all books on matters where the writer, though exceptionally gifted is normally constituted, and has no private axe to grind. It was he also who saw woman as a kind of trap of the Life Force, of which she was the instinctive agent. Shaw also hoped to remove property ownership from society. Such effeminates do not count in the world scheme: even Bunsby dropping like a fascinated bird into the jaws of Mrs MacStinger is by comparison a true tragic object of pity and terror.
The late Mr Whitefield would be gratified almost to impatience by the long faces of the men except Tanner, who is fidgety , the silent handgrasps, the sympathetic placing of chairs, the sniffing of the widow, and the liquid eye of the daughter, whose heart, apparently, will not let her control her tongue to speech. I first prove that anything I write on the relation of the sexes is sure to be misleading; and then I proceed to write a Don Juan play. But the lesson intended by an author is hardly ever the lesson the world chooses to learn from his book. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost secrets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. Of that antagonist, and of that conception of repentance, how much is left that could be used in a play by me dedicated to you? Or, perhaps more accurately, he shows the influence of the relatively new naturalism, according to which the instinctual was emphasized and sex and hunger identified as the ultimate sources of human behavior. She admits that she is legally married, but that the identity of her groom must remain secret. Whether the artist becomes poet or philosopher, moralist or founder of a religion, his sexual doctrine is nothing but a barren special pleading for pleasure, excitement, and knowledge when he is young, and for contemplative tranquillity when he is old and satiated.
What is all this growing love of pageantry, this effusive loyalty, this officious rising and uncovering at a wave from a flag or a blast from a brass band? The modern Don Juan, Shaw continues, is anything but a profligate. You, on the contrary, feel that a man who discusses his conscience is much like a woman who discusses her modesty. I pride myself on not being one of these susceptible: If you study the electric light with which I supply you in that Bumbledonian public capacity of mine over which you make merry from time to time, you will find that your house contains a great quantity of highly susceptible copper wire which gorges itself with electricity and gives you no light whatever. When it is complicated by the genius being a woman, then the game is one for a king of critics: your George Sand becomes a mother to gain experience for the novelist and to develop her, and gobbles up men of genius, Chopins, Mussets and the like, as mere hors d'oeuvres. Whitefield and I lost chance after chance through our advanced opinions. But ordinary men cannot produce really impressive art-works.
I fear I small be defrauded of my just martyrdom in the same way. Since Shaw had been conducting a running battle against current romantic drama, Walkley playfully suggested that Shaw show how the love theme should be developed by writing a Don Juan play. Ramsden and Octavius are outraged and ashamed. Civilized society is one huge bourgeoisie: no nobleman dares now shock his greengrocer. Some of his ideas found expression in his fifth novel, An Unsocial Socialist 1884 , in which Sidney Trefusis is an outspoken rationalist like Jack Tanner in Man and Superman. Of course I understand your feeling, Annie.
But he was in earnest. That the men, to protect themselves against a too aggressive prosecution of the women's business, have set up a feeble romantic convention that the initiative in sex business must always come from the man, is true; but the pretence is so shallow that even in the theatre, that last sanctuary of unreality, it imposes only on the inexperienced. But now Tanner is a grown man and Annie a grown woman. Select your lunch option online when you purchase your ticket to the show! Hardly a dozen out of 670, and these only under the persuasion of conspicuous personal qualifications and popular eloquence. You pose as an advanced man.
It's not fair: it's not right: it's not kind. Thus his profligacy and his dare-devil airs have gone the way of his sword and mandoline into the rag shop of anachronisms and superstitions. But a lifetime of happiness! All the wickedness on earth is done in their name: where else but in hell should they have their reward? Shaw had high praise for Barrie's play, for it too is a drama of ideas. But I ask you to consider the altered circumstances. Ann was suggested to me by the fifteenth century Dutch morality called Everyman, which Mr William Poel has lately resuscitated so triumphantly. Oh, Jack, you talk of saving me from my highest happiness.
I had just finished an essay called Down with Government by the Greyhaired; and I was full of arguments and illustrations. Our ideal prosperity is not the prosperity of the industrial north, but the prosperity of the Isle of Wight, of Folkestone and Ramsgate, of Nice and Monte Carlo. It is no better to-day and never will be any better: our very peasants have something morally hardier in them that culminates occasionally in a Bunyan, a Burns, or a Carlyle. Do you know that since she grew up to years of discretion, I don't believe she has ever once given her own wish as a reason for doing anything or not doing it. To console ourselves we must just look at her.