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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 with a large cheque forcing Barbara to examine her moral assumptions. Are they right to accept money that has been obtained by Death and Destruction'? Full of lively comedy and sparkling debate, Major Barbara is one of Shaw's most forward-looking plays, brilliantly testing the tensions between religion, wealth and power, benevolence and equality, and metaphors and realities of war.
Dublin-born George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an active Socialist and a brilliant platform speaker. He was strongly critical of London theatre and closely associated with the intellectual revival of British drama. Dan H. Laurence has edited Shaw's Collected Letters and Collected Plays with their Prefaces. He was Literary Advisor to the Shaw Estate until his retirement in 1990. Margery Morgan is an Emeritus Reader in English of Lancaster University.