Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/163
Title: REALISM IN THE PLAYS OF GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Authors: Kumar, Akhilesh
Keywords: REALISM
PLAYS
ROMANCE
REALITY
Issue Date: 1985
Abstract: A character in Shaw's playlet The Glimpse of Reality says, "When I believe in everything that is real...... then I shall be a man at last". Shaw wants to create generations of people consisting of such men. His endeavours in this direction have been proclaimed by himself when he told Stephen Winsten: " The world will never be the same again because I have educated four i generations to see things as they are, and not what they imagine them to be or want them to be ». This is the core of Shaw's dramaturgy and his realism. The truth about society is that it lacks knowledge and self-awareness. Shaw aimed to awaken us to the ugly facts of life-poverty, greed, social injustice, hypocrisy etc. In his views traditional religion and established institutions are obsolete because they arc inefficient and incapable of taking account of the present reality and its evolution. Shaw is basically a man of ideas and his ideas on various institutions constitute the realistic structure of his plays. in his plays there is the contrast between romance and reality, illusion and actuality, silly story and flinty facts. Generally, an ordinary man's inability to face harsh reality and the necessity of illusions and ii idealism for his happiness are problems in Shavian plays. Shaw adopts the unique technique of going to the roots of conventional beliefs and showing to the audiences what is the essential reality behind external conditions. Thus for Shaw the dramatic art was a discovery of reality under the chaos of daily phenomenon. Shaw minutely observed the real life led by people and found himself surrounded by the unreality of the theories of various economists, political and social thinkers. Shaw believes that our social and religious institutions hav^ been corrupted by vicious economic order. He exposes the pernicious effects of poverty and wants the poor to realise the facts and get over their poverty. In a very realistic manner, Shaw visualizes a classless society - a society without economic disparities. Shaw insisted that love is a biological reality in the interest of the betterment of race. Thus, he never glamourizes romantic love and love scenes in his plays are outcome of his realistic imagination and not an emotional projection. in order to carry us towards realistic thinking and intellectual consciousness, Shaw ridicules the falsity of romance and sentiments in love. Shaw unmasked the institution of marriage as based not only on false economy but also on false biology. Married iii people regard the institution of marriage as a justified institution for perpetual, intense and even unhealthy pleasure which is a heresy against the Life Force. Shaw rescued sex from sensuality and revealed its real nature. Shaw realized that the real and creative purpose of sex remains obscured by romance and sentimentality which are artificial constructions. Shaw revealed sex as a fundamental, real, evolutionary, violent and impersonal instinct through which the sacred Life Force expresses itself for the betterment of the race. Shaw discovered that the Life Force is the only reality in the world. This force will gradually result in the evolution of a superman - who has a supreme awareness of himself and his purpose in life. Shaw's method of searching for the truth is more or less akin to that of Henrik Ibsen. Shaw's skeptical attitude toward conventional ways of seeing things, his contempt for the hypocrisy of so called moral people are all Ibsenite in spirit. Shaw's aim as a realistic dramatist is to tear asunder the mask of idealism which covers the intolerable realities. Shaw educates the idealist through the shattering of his false illusions by presenting before him the stark reality. Shaw puts upon the stage the real living people with their hidden selves and masked absurdities. They later on undergo a process of disillusionment and then accept original and realistic morality. iv The hero-villain conflict is not only unreal but also undramatic to Shaw. The conflicts involving social, moral and political questions find favour with Shaw. Thus, in his plays, we find a conflict between the will of social progress and the will of the idealistic repression. Moreover, conflict in Shavian plays is represented by two ways of looking at life - idealism and realism. Thus, Shaw's realism is a very powerful device to recognize and reveal to the world the human selfishness behind the mask of poetry and romance. Moreover, it assists the human spirit in its goal of achieving higher self - consciousness and self - understanding. Shaw wants us to perceive larger realities behind the mask of artificial appearances. In the "Quintessence of Ibsenism", Shaw said that man • raises himself from consciousness to .knowledge by daring more and more to face facts and teach himself the truth. In Shavian plays we find a movement from the less real to the more real.' In other words from the merely physical and limited reality to the more universal and complete one - a new and firmer grasp on reality. Shaw wanted to uplift human mind beyond seductivo illusions of romanticism toward the fuller understanding of reality, -hus, Shaw strongly supports renewed vigour in the direction of the search for truth and reality. Shaw's reality is not an abstract reality but a tentative vision towards the realization of Godhead. Shaw is a perpetual dreamer of a better future which will never turn to be the best. Thus, we see that in Shavian plays the quest for learning is an insatiable one and his heroes strive towards knowing more and more reality. This is the reason that the nature of Shaw's truth is tentative and one of the salient features of Shavian realism is its mutability and indefiniteness. The present truth cannot be taken for granted since the new knowledge always contradicts the old. The reality we begin with and the reality we propose to create are inherently incomplete and partial truths but their synthesis results in a more real understanding. Thus, in the dissertation, an attempt has been made to discover certain new facts to prove that Shaw's realism cannot be accommodated within the framework of conventional realism.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/163
Other Identifiers: Ph.D
Appears in Collections:DOCTORAL THESES (HSS)

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