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In this play more than in any other play, Shaw's characters are obsessed with various ideas and theories and different approaches. They endlessly discuss various ideas such as sex, capitalism and how to improve society in exchanges that are somewhat bewildering in their scope, range and content. At its heart, the play is full of many different and opposing ideas that capture some of Shaw's ideas and philosophy, especially with regard to the Life Force, which he defined as the instinct that causes women to find a consort so as to give birth to a so-called "Superman." Note, for example, the following speech that discusses the artist and the reason why he is such a terrible character:
Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a blood-sucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy!
Such a speech portrays the artist as a terrible person who is willing to sacrifice even the most sacred and important relationships around him for his art and to improve it. This is but one of the many bewildering array of ideas that are presented in this play in which Shaw explores many different contradictory beliefs and approaches to various ideas and debates. The sheer range of the ideas in this play has made it somewhat cumbersome to perform, as its length and complexity has rendered it one of the more abstract of Shaw's works.
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