George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. His education was irregular, due to
his dislike of any organized training. After working in an estate agent's office for a while he moved to London as a young
man (1876), where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic in the eighties and nineties and became a
prominent member of the Fabian Society, for which he composed many pamphlets. He began his literary career as a
novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen (The Quintessence of Ibsenism, 1891) he decided to write plays
in order to illustrate his criticism of the English stage. His earliest dramas were called appropriately Plays Pleasant and
Unpleasant (1898). Among these, Widower's Houses and Mrs. Warren's Profession savagely attack social hypocrisy, while
in plays such as Arms and the Man and The Man of Destiny the criticism is less fierce. Shaw's radical rationalism, his utter
disregard of conventions, his keen dialectic interest and verbal wit often turn the stage into a forum of ideas, and
nowhere more openly than in the famous discourses on the Life Force, «Don Juan in Hell», the third act of the
dramatization of woman's love chase of man, Man and Superman (1903).
In the plays of his later period discussion sometimes drowns the drama, in Back to Methuselah (1921), although in the
same period he worked on his masterpiece Saint Joan (1923), in which he rewrites the well-known story of the French
maiden and extends it from the Middle Ages to the present.
Other important plays by Shaw are Caesar and Cleopatra (1901), a historical play filled with allusions to modern times,
and Androcles and the Lion (1912), in which he exercised a kind of retrospective history and from modern movements
drew deductions for the Christian era. In Major Barbara (1905), one of Shaw's most successful «discussion» plays,
the audience's attention is held by the power of the witty argumentation that man can achieve aesthetic salvation only
through political activity, not as an individual. The Doctor's Dilemma (1906), facetiously classified as a tragedy by Shaw,
is really a comedy the humour of which is directed at the medical profession. Candida (1898), with social attitudes toward
sex relations as objects of his satire, and Pygmalion (1912), a witty study of phonetics as well as a clever treatment of
middle-class morality and class distinction, proved some of Shaw's greatest successes on the stage. It is a combination of
the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective that gives Shaw's comedies their special flavour.
Shaw's complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950, the year of his death.
Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing
Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.
Animals are my friends...and I don't eat my friends.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in
trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the
unreasonable man.
You see things; you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he
The liar's punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot
believe anyone else.
My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.
Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one
a second time.
War does not decide who is right but who is left.
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder
him he calls it ferocity.

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me
there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights
the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied,
The one I feed the most.
As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the
aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.
You don't stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.
I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children
that honesty is the best policy.
Human beings are the only animals of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid.
The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.
The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.
The test of a man’s or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.
There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than
A doctor’s reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care.
When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did
ten times more work.

The English are not a very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of
Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.
There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it.
It is not pleasure that makes life worth living. It is life that makes pleasure worth having.
A book is like a child: it is easier to bring it into the world than to control it when it
is launched there.
Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned. May not one lost
soul be permitted to abstain?
What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never
lose a chance: it doesn’t come every day.
A man of my spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is
Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness.
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into
pedantry. Hence University education.
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it

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