Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Fragrance of Deliverance in the Slough of Agony in George Bernard Shaw's the Devil's Disciple

Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Fragrance of Deliverance in the Slough of Agony in George Bernard Shaw's the Devil's Disciple

Article excerpt


This study begins with a concise look at Shaw's endless interest in criticism of his contemporary drama and society, which is followed by a close scrutiny of the play through the concept of deliverance; finally, it arrives at its conclusion by bringing to life the dominant feature of the play, which show that the importance of existence is valued in a free and democratic atmosphere.

To see or not to see, to bear or not to bear the cruelty of the conquerors, one thing remains the same: there has to be somebody to awaken his fellow beings from the deep slumber of negligence, who wait for a Godot as their savior. Richard in this play serves as that somebody. He is an outcast known by the people of his town as the Devil's Disciple, and he himself claims to be so. Though, throughout the play he proves his bravery by underscoring Anderson's identity to indirectly acquaint him to raise a rebellion against their foreign conquerors. By leaving his footmark in Anderson's heart he makes him believe his role in leading the history of a nation to glory.

Indeed, Shaw reproaches the imperialistic ways of Britain by showing America as an example of a dominated country among all the other dominated nations where people sense the fear whenever they come across a British soldier. Indeed, they are afraid of being sent to the gallows, which is set at the center of town to make an example of what the British call as "rebels" and is aimed to put fear into the heart of those who seek freedom for their nation. He anticipates a future for the world where the cloud of colonialism casts its eternal shadow over those who are considered the "weak" and are always expected to obey their cruel and unfair rules.

By browsing through the crinkled and dusted pages of history, we may witness all the moments of agony of people who were the slaves of their foreign conquerors. This play brings to light the issue of freedom of a nation dominated by Britain.

One man rises to stand against all the sufferings caused by this issue and awakens his compatriots from the slumber of ignorance. He makes an attempt to unite his compatriots in order to release their body and soul from slavery.

According to Bullock (2003), by using the principles, Life, Liberty, and Property of John Locke, a nation is impressed to devote his life to the realization of freedom from the shackles of the imperialism of Britain, and to do so it takes a long way which necessitates the importance of self-sacrifices of those who are ready to give it all to be free.


Innes holds: "Shaw could be seen as the father of modern British drama, having created the conditions that attracted later authors to write for the theatre" (1998, p. xvii). George Bernard Shaw as a sympathetic critic of our time always deals with social evils of the current world, particularly, Britain. He attempts to guide the thinking of common mass toward an intelligent and at the same time responsible outlook at the issues of their time. Griffith explicates: "Shaw was a willing convert. Poverty and lack of social standing, his radical temper and compulsive intellectualism, all conspired to impress on him the truth of his most fundamental critique of established values, structures and practices" (1993, p. 26). He uses comedy to meet an end and the laughter in his comedies is a cry against social, economical, and political conventions of his time. He changes the course of English drama by condemning the credo of "art for art's sake" an idea held by the aesthetic artists of his time most importantly his compatriot, Oscar Wilde. He is widely against the "well made" but empty, merely entertaining plays which were dominant in 19th century on English stage, Sulleiman holds: "George Bernard Shaw thought that there was no sense in writing something for mere entertainment, what he wrote had to serve a higher purpose and encourage people to think rather to sit and be content to be entertained" (2010, p. …

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