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Extra resources for Bernard Shaw and Totalitarianism: Longing for Utopia
By far the most time is spent on Ibsen’s great two-part epic play Emperor and Galilean (1873), and this we will look into shortly, as it has a lot to say about Shaw’s utopian thinking as well as offering us an opportunity to better see if perhaps Ibsen himself does not share in Shaw’s vision. 23 The play is still one of the most powerful articulations of the moral corruption inherent in a society ruled by the economic imperative. The play takes aim at the public, the press, and party politics and portrays the character of Dr.
Cowards, you notice, are always shrieking to have troublesome people killed” (vol. 1, 276). 50 Higgins is a force of nature. Always “thundering” and “storming,” he is a “hurricane” (vol. 1, 213, 215, 216), a peremptory creature born to command, and who frequently threatens violence against his refractory pupil, and once almost loses his self-control and attacks her (vol. 1, George Bernard Shaw: Revolutionary Playwright 23 280); and although he lacks his creator’s god-like poise, he must possess an inordinate capacity for self-control not only to have mastered his science but to have accomplished the superhuman transformation of Eliza.
And it was these strong-willed, benevolent, and intellectually astute individuals who would necessarily usher in and provide the leadership of the socialist state. In 1888, Shaw may have praised the ideals of communist anarchism, as James T. ”15 Consequently, we can extrapolate from his imaginary society that the realists will plan and rule, the idealists and philistines forming the bureaucracy and laboring contingent of society. In other words, The Quintessence can in some ways be seen as a generalized sketch of the broad political structure of the coming socialist utopia of Shaw’s imagination.