About the BookA great dramatist, a literary critic, an eminent showman, an intellectual and a satirist, George Bernard Shaw was a leading theatre personality of the 20th century. He was a philosopher, thinker and an ardent advocate of women’s rights. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.
Man and Superman, a four-Act drama, was written in 1903 as a response to those who had questioned Shaw as to why he had never written a play based on the Don Juan theme. It deserves the position of Bernard Shaw’s masterpiece. The plot revolves around a young man, John Tanner, who possesses advanced ideas and finds himself surrounded by a set of ordinary beings who are abject slaves to convention. The main idea consists of an endeavour to show how utterly futile are modern ideas and advanced thought when brought into practice amid the social conditions of our present civilized state.
Throughout the play, the readers admire the high principles upon which Tanner is endeavouring to shape his ends, but they are pleased when they see this strong-minded and exceptionally advanced young man come a cropper before the simple, hypocritical devices of an inexperienced, feather-brained young girl, Ann. She is referred to as the life force and represents Shaw’s view that in every culture, it is the women who force the men to marry them rather than the men who take the initiative.