ISBN : 9780198800712
The three plays in this volume are some of George Bernard Shaw's most popular and frequently performed works. They demonstrate the development of Shavian comedy and contain early formulations of his idea of the Superman, an extraordinary individual who catalyzes the evolution of mankind.
Arms and the Man (1894) was Shaw's first commercial success and the first public confirmation that he could make playwriting his profession. It is the first of what Shaw called his "pleasant plays',comedies that critique idealism in general rather than specific social problems (as his earlier plays did). Specifically, Shaw undermines the romance of wartime courage, reckless heroism, and nationalist pride among British spectators while using the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1886 as an exotic veneer.
Shaw wrote The Devil's Disciple (1897) for William Terriss, an actor known for his swashbuckling roles who had requested a play that would 'contain every "surefire" melodramatic situation' —mistaken identities, terrifying adventures and last-second escapes, and frequent emotional outpourings..
Caesar and Cleopatra (1898) is Shaw's revision of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra as well as a fusion of the pragmatism and unconventionality of the heroes of Arms and the Man and The Devil's Disciple into a portrait of jocular, morally serious leadership.
Arms and the Man
The Devil's Disciple
Caesar and Cleopatra