Major Barbara Background

Major Barbara Background

Premiering in 1905 and published in 1907, Major Barbara is a three-part play written by George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright and critic. The plot revolves around a young woman named Barbara who is in the Salvation Army, and her efforts to help the masses of impoverished in London.

The titular protagonist, Major Barbara Undershaft, is an idealistic and determined young woman who is shocked when she finds out her Christian Church is taking bribes from a weapons manufacturer and an alcohol distributer, both factions heavily discouraged by the faith. Barbara decides to take action not by further helping the poor, but by offering the rich a message to salvation so they can become more enlightened to help them in her stead- a better method by her thoughts.

Major Barbara was very well-received by the English masses, as well as critics. The play was overall very successful, first produced at the Royal Court Theatre in London, and later even making its Broadway debut in New York City at the Playhouse Theatre in 1915. In 1941, Major Barbara was also adapted into a film.

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