Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Best Quotes from the Very Quotable Man and Superman by G. B. Shaw

I spent a very lovely time during my summer break with one of Shaw's finest plays: Man and Superman, not to mention that I never cease applying the word "finest" to every last piece of him I read, probably till I exhaust them all. It was first applied to Arms and the Man, then to Pygmalion, and later to Saint Joan. I have to admit, though, that Candida and Major Barbara are never, and probably will never, be crowned "finest" by me. Besides, there is always something about Shaw's endings, aka denouements, that leave me unsatisfied; in other words, his "catharsis" does not "purge." He, being more a core-shaker than a problem-solver, strikes the nerves and leaves the wounds unhealed.

Anyway, if you haven't read Man and Superman, the following quotes would be good to begin with.

"The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is. Why, you're ashamed to buy my book, ashamed to read it: the only thing you're not ashamed of is to judge me for it without having read it" (I)

"that's the devilish side of a woman’s fascination: she makes you will your own destruction" (I)

"It’s so hard to know what to do when one wishes earnestly to do right" (I)

"I had become a new person; and those who knew the old person laughed at me. The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me" (I)

"When you go to heaven, Ann, you will be frightfully conscious of your wings for the first year or so. When you meet your relatives there, and they persist in treating you as if you were still a mortal, you will not be able to bear them. You will try to get into a circle which has never known you except as an angel" (I)

"It is this consideration of other people—or rather this cowardly fear of them which we call consideration—that makes us the sentimental slaves we are" (I)

"Sherbrooke Road is a place where boys learn something: Eton is a boy farm where we are sent because we are nuisances at home, and because in after life, whenever a Duke is mentioned, we can claim him as an old school-fellow" (II)

"Abnormal professions attract two classes: those who are not good enough for ordinary bourgeois life and those who are too good for it. We are dregs and scum, sir: the dregs very filthy, the scum very superior" (III)

"THE STATUE: My dear: I am so much more admired in marble than I ever was in my own person" (III)

"Man measures his strength by his destructiveness… The highest form of literature is the tragedy, a play in which everybody is murdered at the end" (III)

"They are not beautiful: they are only decorated. They are not clean: they are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified: they are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated: they are only college passmen. They are not religious: they are only pewrenters. They are not moral: they are only conventional. They are not virtuous: they are only cowardly. They are not even vicious: they are only “frail.” They are not artistic: they are only lascivious. They are not prosperous: they are only rich. They are not loyal, they are only servile; not dutiful, only sheepish; not public spirited, only patriotic; not courageous, only quarrelsome; not determined, only obstinate; not masterful, only domineering; not self-controlled, only obtuse; not self-respecting, only vain; not kind, only sentimental; not social, only gregarious; not considerate, only polite; not intelligent, only opinionated; not progressive, only factious; not imaginative, only superstitious; not just, only vindictive; not generous, only propitiatory; not disciplined, only cowed; and not truthful at all: liars every one of them, to the very backbone of their souls" (III)

"I've noticed, madam, that every thousand dollars an Englishman gets seems to add one to the number of people he’s dependent on" (IV)

"We all lie; we all bully as much as we dare; we all bid for admiration without the least intention of earning it" (IV)


awatif said...

Your views and writings are a true thing of beauty.Hopefully you will continue to read and invite us to read.

Dalal.T.Sh. said...

Thanks for the nice words