Explain Cusins' conversion in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the beginning of the play, it is shown that Cusins`attraction to Greek and to Euripides is the Dionysiac strain. As a professor, Cusins can only experience this vicariously and his ideals can only be enacted through the medium of his students. As the heir of Undershaft, Cusins has the power to make changes in the world. Part of the point George Bernard Shaw is making here, and one he elucidates in greater degree in The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, is that only if people`s material wants are satisfied, and they are free from war and poverty, can their spirits and intellect fully develop. Thus Cusins`idealism is actually more effective in developing people`s souls and intellects in freeing them from poverty and oppression by making guns and employing workers than by teaching Greek.

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Major Barbara

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