Major Barbara


Title: Major Barbara Author: George Bernard Shaw Setting: The play extends over three days in January 1906. The beginning starts in the library of Lady Britomart, the estranged wife of Andrew Undershaft. It then continues with a visit to the West Ham Shelter of the Salvation Army. The play finally concludes at the Undershaft Empire, the munitions' factory. Plot: Lady Britomart invites her estranged husband, Andrew Undershaft, over to reacquaint him with his children, Stephen, Sarah, and Barbara. Lady Britomart is in need of more money to support their daughters and their intended's, Charles Lomax and Adolphus Cusins. Barbara tries to convert her father and save his soul. While Andrew will convert his daughter, Barbara to his side. Cast of Key Characters Major Barbara Undershaft "Conformist" [Barbara to Lady Britomart 65] Lady Britomart has just informed the girls, Sarah and Barbara, that their father, Andrew Undershaft, will be arriving at any time. She has already informed Stephen Undershaft. Since it has been a long time ago, when they were babies, that Andrew has seen the children she wishes for them to be on their best behavior. Lady Brit wants to ask Andrew for money for the girls and their intended's, Charles Lomax and Adolphus Cusins; therefore, she has asked them to be there also. To accommodate her mother she attempts to conform to a ladylike appearance. Quote: "All right, mother. We'll do you credit. [She comes off the table, and sits in her chair with ladylike elegance]." "Director" [Barbara to Shirley 83] Bill Walker has just assaulted two women, Rummy and Jenny Hill, at the West Ham Shelter. He is looking for his woman. Barbara comes out to take the names of the people who have arrived and to save their souls. She takes control of the situation in a professional way. She directs Shirley to sit down and for the gentlemen there to give her their names, addresses, and trades. Barbara is trying to put order back to the disorder that had just occurred. Quote: "Sit down: make yourself at home. [He hesitates; but she puts a friendly hand on his shoulder and makes him obey]. Now then! Since you've made friends with us, we want to know all about you. Names and addresses and trades." "Conniver" [Barbara to Bill Walker 84] Shirley has given Barbara his name and trade. She then turns to Bill to give his name. Bill refuses to give his name to her. She then tries to coax it out of him, by making a note in her book and calling him chicken basically. Quote: "[calmly making a note] Afraid to give his name. Any trade? "Caregiver" [Barbara to Jenny 87] Barbara has been talking with Bill about what he had done earlier to the women and trying to get him to see the light. Bill tells her he is looking for his woman, Mog. Barbara tells him where she is but it won't do him any good to go to get here back she has found another man. She will more then likely convert him, because that is how she won her new bow. She decides to let him think about this for awhile and turns her attentions to Jenny. With sincere concern she asks if Jenny is all right and comforts her with a gentle touch. Quote: "Poor little Jenny! Are you tired? Does it hurt?" "Oppressor" [Barbara to Bill 89] Barbara has been talking with her father about how he and Shirley are both Secularists. Andrew says his religion is that of a millionaire. She says she is wrong they don't have anything in common then. Barbara dismisses Shirley and turns to her father. He asks about Bill. She says they will convert him in time. She seems to read Bill's mind when she says she is sure her would like to smash Mog's head in. He is amazed that she knew what he was thinking. She tries to scare him by saying that his new companion is the devil. And when the devil comes round he depresses people like him. Quote: "The devil, Bill. When he gets round people they get miserable, just like you." "Fanatic" [Barbara to Bill 90] Barbara is hell bent on saving Bill's soul she keeps talking to him about the terrible thing he has done, hitting a