Topics for Further Study
Research the place of women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. How does Barbara rebel against traditional feminine roles?
In view of Shaw's socialism, what might have been his purpose in making Andrew Undershaft's armaments factory and the adjacent town a model of success? In what ways does Shaw manage to show the negative side of Undershaft's achievement?
Compare Barbara and Cusins to the character Dr. Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's play The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Given that Undershaft is frequently referred to as a Satanic character, does Cusins sell his soul to the Devil? Does Barbara sell hers?
Compare Andrew Undershaft to Mother Courage in Bertolt Brecht' s play Mother Courage and Her Children, which was first produced during World War H How might the intervening years of war account for differences between the two characters and between the two plays?
Read Henry David Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience. '' Discuss whether or not the characters in Major Barbara live according to their consciences. What does Shaw say about the relationship between individual action and society?