Essay: Biography of G. B. Shaw

George Bernard Shaw is perhaps one of the most significant writers of the modern era.
Though he is more known as a playwright, Shaw was. At the same time, a respected
critic, novelist, journalist, and essayist. As noted social reformer, Shaw wrote plays that
dramatized social commentaries, and almost in 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
Literature for his great achievements. Shaw as a man and as an artist is considered as
one of the most significant figure of English literature as Harold Bloom declares that
‘He [G. B. Shaw] continues to hold the stage and might appear to have earned his
reputation of being the principal writer of English comic drama since
Shakespeare'(2011:1). Today, his works are studied worldwide in literature classes and
are considered classics of modern drama.
Born in July, 26, 1856 in Ireland, Shaw was given some Protestant upbringings
by his own father who was a simple civil servant, and his mother was a music
teacher and a vocalist. Through his mother, Shaw has gained an appreciation for
classical music as he later credited as the most dominant interest which led to Shaw’s
eventual successes.
At the age of twenty, Shaw made a trip to London to begin his professional
career in literary aspects. He made a career name for himself as a music critic, and soon
later he was writing criticisms of literature, art, and drama. By 1890, Shaw has been
published in almost every major London publication like The Pall Mall Gazette and the
Saturday Review. During that time, he wrote five novels that were published mainly in
the socialist papers, which were not much as successful as his plays and essays.
During that time, Shaw had become an active member of socialist movement. He
had also read Marx’s Das Kapital, and by the 1884 he had finally joined the Fabian
Society which was an influential group dedicated to establishing a socialist democracy
particularly in England and generally in Britain. As a Fabian member, Shaw learned to
31
articulate and bring out his philosophies and ideas. He quickly became the spokesman
for the Fabians and their principles. Christopher Innes through explaining the Shavian
beliefs and his autobiography has believed that ‘Shaw collaborated with staunch Fabian
friends’ to forge a better society’ (1998:8). This gave Shaw his first opportunity to
express, in a better way, his beliefs through a public forum, and brought his name to
publicity as his writing never had.
For Shaw’s brilliant and creative mind and imagination towards the interconnecting his
ideas to his audiences, it can be said that he is good enough for choosing his special
tools for expressing. In this concern, Gareth Griffith in his Socialism and Superior
Brains states that:
Shaw was like a machine, producing ideas and opinions at a
constant rate over seventy years, stretching and pulling the
mindof his audience, tugging at its conscience, trying its nerve
and tweaking its prejudices. He was one of the master
intellectuals of his age, a prince in the universe of progressive
thought. (Griffith, 1992: 1-2)
It is his closeness to the audience that confirms the absolute understanding of a purpose
in which Shaw is aware of and intends to make his ideas to be read in minds with a
double glimpse.
Shaw was greatly impressed by the playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen’s drama
represents and conveys a social realism that Shaw hadn’t realized that it was possible.
That was for the first time in which Shaw saw that the stage could become his best place
for the communication of ideas. He despised such sentimental melodrama being
produced in London theatres and so he began writing and producing plays of his own.
By comparing Shaw and Ibsen in a sort of similar level, it can be seen that they share
some familiar ideas in the same aspects. Burton believes that “both are critics of society,
realists in method, individualists in attitude and teaching, and technicians who boldly
adapt the stage traditions to their particular kind of endeavor”(Burton, 2010: 275).
32
In 1898, Shaw has published his first volume consisting of six plays that are
titled as Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant, which included You Never Can Tell. The plays
were later produced to great critical acclaims by experimental and independent theatres
in London. Several plays produced, including such classics works as Man and
Superman, Major Barbara, and Pygmalion and Arms and The Man. Soon later Shaw’s
plays were found published and produced in almost everywhere in Britain.
Whether the reason was ending poverty, reorganizing society, or removing
limitations andsexual stigmas, Shaw had sought to confront audiences with issues of
social importance.
It is not that everyone took Shaw’s work as great theatre. There are however,
many critics who argued that art was a means of communicating the human experience,
and not a forum to preach or teach. They contended that Shaw’s plays were, to a great
extent, flawed because of their satire, their excessive arguments, and the lack of
interesting story.
In a keen observation on Shaw’s beliefs, ideas and dramatic skills on stage, it can be said
that he has a great reliability towards what is called modern drama. In another detailed
observation on Shaw’s modernity, in his Shaw among the Modernists, Lawrence Switzky
believes declares this as such:
One does not of course need to be a modernist or a member of
the avant-garde to be a good artist. But since Shaw wrote plays,
prefaces, broadsides, radio addresses, television plays, and film
scripts alongside various ‘contemporaries’ who are often
thought of as modernist or avant-garde, and who negotiated
similar relationships between high culture and mass culture, as
well as tradition and rupture, it seems worthwhile to begin to
consider how Shaw might fit into the jigsaw of British and
Continental modernism. (Switzky, 2011: 134)
After he won the Nobel Prize, Shaw continued to write plays even until his death in
1950. His later works not much enjoyed wide success as his earlier. Still Shaw stands as
one of the great and most dominant playwrights of modern era. For better or worse view,
33
he changed the ways the world looked at and viewed the drama and theatre. With the
plays like Chicago, Rent, and Angels in America, Shaw’s great influence and impact on
modern theatre continues to be felt and studied.
3.2. Shaw’s Style of Writing
In most of his plays, G. B. Shaw uses comedy as satire and rhetorical speech in his style
of writing. Shaw uses satirical comedy in his plays as a new dramatic Shavian technique
to criticize the idealist, Victorian idealists. It is his most significant technique to convey
his message to the reader and audience through these dramatic skills. In comedy, Shaw
puts a sense of satirical intent to the purpose and he is aware of it at the same time.
Christopher Innes (1998) concerning the purpose and beyond the surface of Shavian
comedy, states that “The Shavian comedies’ do not so much slide away from satire’
they use satire to ridicule an entrenched but outworn moral position and then, reactively,
spring forward to a new moral position more vigorous and heroic.”(133)
In the other side, Shavian dramatic style in the rhetorical perspective is a
message of conveying the ideas rather than only words. Shaw’s choice of rhetoric words
and speech by characters is used in many times to present a further meaning by the word
itself. It conveys moral and a social value for what the playwright himself is intending to
present. On Shaw’s theory and language in style, Paul Lewton in an article titled as G. B.
Shaw. Theory, Language and Drama in Nineties, states that “Shaw’s dramatic writing
was continuous with his Fabian and theatrical journalism in its criticism of rhetoric as an
instrument of idealism. As in his theatre reviews, Shaw focused on ‘genteel idealism’;
Mrs. Warren’s Profession, The Philanderer, Candida, and Arms and the Man all
associate rhetoric with idealism of this kind” (1979:160).
3.3. Transitional Traits in Shaw’s Arms and the Man
3.3.1. Shaw’s Gaze on The ‘New Woman’
Woman in the Victorian Era is seen much like a symbol standing for something else, not
really standing for her own identity. Woman identity of the late Victorian period can be
34
described as luck of significance. Even in literary works women is found a bit too
conceptual of otherness. There has been too much criticism on her if a woman worked in
a play as a character or even as a feminist writer. Christopher Innes that the new woman
is ‘On the whole the New Woman was treated with contempt or fear because in various
incarnations, whether in discourse or in “real” life, she reopened for discussion some
deeply held assumptions about what it meant to be a man or woman’ (1998: 77).
Christopher Innes, in his The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw, goes on
declaring on the role of the ‘New Woman’ as such:
On the whole the New Woman was treated with contempt or fear
because in various incarnations, whether in discourse or in “real”
life, she reopened for discussion some deeply held assumptions
about what it meant to be a man or woman. One version of the
New Woman defied traditional codes of female beauty, smoking
cigarettes and dressing in a simple and “manly” fashion which
seemed to complement her discontented mouth and a nose “too
large for feminine beauty” but indicative of intelligence. (1998:
77)
From this analysis of New Woman, it can be understood that there are too many
boundaries and differences in such an environment. Women have been seeking for a
way to adapt with the environment, however it is, either desired or not, and later for the
righteous identity.
Shaw’s response to all these obstacles and boundaries about the women has a
clear and effective impact and even practical effort on the woman in real life in spite of
his literary works as well as many other social and feminist writers and social reformers.
G. B. Shaw as an active social and realist thinker and writer is fully aware and interested
in thinking and writing on these social conditions and issues that the woman has been
suffering and seeking for its salvation for many decades which is found in many of his
works.
Through the identity and the eye of woman G. B. Shaw sees and presents some
rebellious and social reformation. In many of Shaw’s works, it can be seen that he cares
35
and so depicts the social obstacles that the woman has been facing during that time.
Shaw’s condemned acknowledged believes on woman rely on what a mentally out casted
woman is suffering from, as it is seen in many of his plays. In his play Arms and the
Man, for example, Shaw deals with how the Victorian woman and her identity, her
limits and her reality in the society. FatemehAzizmohammadi explains this notion
concerning the woman in Shaw’s play Arms and the Man as in the following:
Here [in Arms and the Man], George Bernard Shaw depicts this
reality about class and gender differentiation in his play. George
Bernard Shaw shows how women are treated in society and how
class differences limited people to develop. In Arms and the
Man, class struggle is shown by introducing of play different
characters. As a free thinker, George Bernard Shaw supports
women’s right, equality of income, sharing private property, and
change in voting system. (Azizmohammadi, 2014: 6)
From this point it is becoming more clear and obvious that Shaw’s one of the main
concerns on social reform starts from the woman. Shaw is seen in the Late Victorian era
as a reaction of what the society has been seeking for in general and that of the boredom
of individuals from the idealistic and restricted social standards of Victorians.
In Shaw’s plays, the conception of the new woman is contributed to the personality of
the woman within transitional developments and this transition is seen in the dynamic
portrait of the new modern woman as it’s been stated in the following words of Gareth
Griffith:
Traditionally, Shaw’s contribution has been cast mainly in a
positive light. The strong, dynamic women of the plays were said
to have inspired many women to break the bonds of their
Victorian upbringing. By the 1890s Shaw’s name was connected
intimately with the propaganda on behalf of ‘the new woman’.
(1992:157)
With this kind of belief of Shaw’s feminism and its interest many women and young
girls in his time has started to be supporting his ideas and applying them in their lives, to
36
an extent that sometimes they were ‘treating him as a mentor from whom they could
learn what to think, feel and do'(Griffith. 1992:157). In Shaw’s plays there is almost all
the time a hidden rhetorical dramatic language found in characters that are standing as
dynamic characters or transitional individuals from the Victorian idealistic world
towards the new modern and socially realistic one. This concept is seen usually with
female characters for her need of oneness path of finding the identity as seen more
identified with the situation of Arms and The Man’s female character and the protagonist
Raina.
3.3.2. Shaw as a Pioneer Playwright and Arms and the Man as a Literary
Transitional Work
Shaw, as mentioned before, had lived and grown up in a time of troubles which is the
Mid and Late Victorian period. In these two periods some great changes had occurred in
England, especially in its literature, in dramatic writing, for example, one of the
dominant phenomenon taking literature with new perspectives was Henrick Ibsen’s
realistic plays whose been called by many critics as the father of modern drama. In the
plays of Ibsen, many social conditions can be seen and studied; he used to depict most of
social realistic obstacles that Victorians have been living with. G. B. Shaw was
interested in Ibsenism, he followed many of Ibsen’s thoughts and beliefs, and rather
developed them in his plays. Like Ibsen, Shaw was interested in social matters, but more
active and more creative than Ibsen.
Indeed, as a social realist playwright Shaw is seen as a creative revolutionist
dramatist, his plays may be noticed as lacking action, but they are full of rhetorical
conversations and full of ideas. In his plays, Shaw prefers to convey his message in
words rather than too many ambiguous actions like those of Shakespeare. Shaw’s plays
are sort of making sense of social reform. ChutaratBanthakit states that ‘George Bernard
Shaw (1856-1950) is considered as one of the greatest playwrights of British theatre for
his remarkable literary works both in the field of social criticism and in his theatrical
37
reformation that is regarded by later critics and readers as a milestone of modern drama’
(2011: 1).
On the other hand, Shaw’s play Arms and The Man, which is written during the
late Victorian period in (1895), presents exact social conditions of England at that time
and Shavian characters that are rather contributed as socially realists than standing for
the old notions of idealism. Arms and The Man are written in a time where almost all
Victorian convictions have been changing towards the practical notions of the modernity
roots. Shaw has set this play during the 1885 in which there is Serbo-Bulgarian war. The
play goes around some characters, each one stands for a set of ideas to accomplish
Shaw’s philosophy in the drama. One of those characters is Raina Petkoff; she is a young
woman who engaged to Major SergiusSaranoff, a Bulgarian war unrealistic hero. One
night, Captain Bluntschli who is a mercenary soldier who is fighting for the other side
bursts through her bedroom window looking for a place to hide. Raina agrees, but thinks
he is a coward when he reveals that he is afraid and not willing to die in the war, and he
does not even carry the ammunition, but chocolates instead! This does not fit her idea of
how the soldier should be behaving. When that battle is going down, Raina and her
mother, Catherine, sneak Bluntschli out of the house, who is not properly dressed but
only in an old housecoat. Later by four months, when the war ends, Sergius returns.
Raina begins to question her husband-to-be’s heroic behavior and thinks more about her
‘chocolate cream solider’ and his views on love and war.
Indeed Arms and The Man has provided a great success in career to G. B. Shaw
as a dramatist. Shaw himself in an occasion declares that ‘[Arms and the Man] has
produced reputation, discussion, advertisement; it has brought me enough money to live
on for six months, during which I will write two more plays'(Laurence, 1965: 458).
Many critics have commented, analyzing, and studying Shaw’s play’s in many aspects,
but in social realism in particular. The notions and significance of his plays have given
Shaw critical rewards and many literary awards for his creative imagination and the
choice of his dramatic skills and rhetorical style during characters’ conversations. The
38
dramatic skills and the satirical comedy’s intentions in Arms and the Man are explained
in Christopher Innes’ Bernard Shaw, The Man and The Mask as such:
‘Arms and the Man’ is a brilliant satirical comedy belonging
with the group of ‘pleasant’ plays of his [Shaw’] own
description. It is essentially a drama, an amusing story told
within the framework of a conventional plot, but novel in
character, treatment and lebensanschauung, behind the fun.
(Innes, 2010: 59)
Here it can be clear that Shaw’s purpose of such skills has his special own technique
towards conveying a message to his readers, a message that should be conveyed with
delight and fun and enjoyable scenes instead of too much and complex ones so the
reader may get lost or confused.
The chronology of actions in Arms and The Man are dealt with the characters within
their inside conflicts, some characters are seen as the refined Victorians who are living
by Victorian values, some are seen as Shavian Realists and some others are seen as
Victorian Shavians who are dynamic or transitional characters, they make changes from
Victorian idealism towards social realism. The characters’ names are Captain Bluntschli,
Louka, Nicola, Catherine Petkoff, Major Paul Petkoff, Raina Petkoff and
SergiusSaranoff. His characters indeed, stand as ‘the witness of the outset of a new
understanding of romance and realism, the ideal and the real'(Singh and Dubey.
2013:4).
3.3.2.1. Refined Victorians
In Arms and the Man, as it’s mentioned before, Shaw is consciously aware of choosing
the characters’ beliefs and their representative characteristics in a chronological order
that is regarded with what each character stands for. Here, the focus is concentrated on
the characters that are standing for Victorian idealism or who are figured out as
extremely refined with Victorian values and beliefs. The refined Victorian characters are
those who represent the old values or out-of-date beliefs of the Victorian era.
39
One of the most refined Victorian characters in this play can be SergiusSaranoff
who is represents the heroic beliefs on war and love. Sergius is presented idealistically
who is the good looking fianc?? of Raina Petkoff and a romantic like her. He is
attempting to act in the part of a knight in a modern warfare, ‘Sergius sees the world in
terms of a conflict between self and the world and would willingly accept death rather
than compromise the ideals'(Iqbal & Ali. 2013:231).
Shaw’s intention presenting the Sergius is to cover up the possible traits of
romantic upholding beliefs, behind which, the humor and satire is used to Shaw’s
criticism towards such idealist Victorian character. The representation of this character,
as usual, is one of Shaw’s techniques in an artistic and philosophical scale. In some other
word, through presenting Sergius, Bernard Shaw is to be attacking some of false and
outdated taboos and social conditions that are idealized within Victorian characters and
are no more suitable in a modern environmental society, as Shaw creates. Sergius is not
realistic like characters of Bluntschli, he seems to be upholding and living with those
ideals and principles, not like Louka or Raina who transformed to be a voice of the new
modern individual.
This is worth considering underlining these dramatic techniques and skills Shaw
has been used in this play of ideas. Taking attention to what the dramatist puts for
Sergius, many critics have been demonstrating and illustrating the notions and
perceptions of his personality, social potion and his upholding advocates. Assuming to
what makes Sergius be demonstrated as such, it has been believed that he ‘has gained
his high military rank in the Bulgarian Army through charm and family position rather
than through common sense or training’ (Singh and Dubey, 2013: 6).
What makes Shaw’ Arms and the Man undergo within some problematic events
is exactly due to Sergius personality. In the beginning, a reader would feel of great
expectations from him because of his highly imaginative and romantic love and
glorifying notions towards war. First, he is admired by all members of Petkoff family,
but later on as the events flow out, his personality becomes obvious that Sergius is
nothing but a man that shows off accordingly by his imagination, not in practice, the
40
Petkoffs and the reader as well would find him unrealistic in dealing with his personal
support. During a conversational occasion moved between Petkoff and Catherine, some
sarcastic hints are called to Sergius by Petkoff which indicates his realization of Sergius’
true personality:
CATHERINE. He certainly ought to be promoted when he marries Raina.
Besides, the country should insist on having at least one native general.
PETKOFF. Yes, so that he could throw away whole brigades instead of
regiments. It’s no use, my dear: he has not the slightest chance of promotion until we
are quite sure that the peace will be a lasting one. (AM.31)
With this extract, Shaw has, perhaps, consciously tried to cover up the most probable
possibilities that may occur in Sergius’ personality, which is, indeed, his main purpose to
achieve. What is certainly mostly covered up in illustrating the ambiguity in Sergius is
what can be called as a split character, the reader cannot be sure of what his true
personality is because of his unclear personality and exaggerated imagination. His
uncertain state of psychology is opposite to the cultural perspective. For presenting
Bluntschli as his ‘rival'(AM.39) in most social connections, Shaw aims to indicate to
the contradictory social conditions through his creative dramatic techniques in which
Sergius is found to be advocating to some false and outdated ideas.
Moreover, Sergius fails terribly when the situation comes to be practically
dealing with war and its manners, and instead of giving up his false idealism, he rather
excuses his situation by claiming that ‘This hand is more accustomed to the sword than
to the pen’ (AM.49), which indicates his hypocritical state of mind. This reaction of
Sergius can be demonstrated as falling action to whom Raina changes her way of
thinking toward him.
Another leading to failure, concerning his understanding towards war, is that
when he accepts to Bluntschli’s challenge with dignity and his blind confident. Also that
factor that makes Sergius fail in his lost idealism is the moment of realization of his loss
41
of Raina. After all this happens to him, Sergius claims that “our romance is shattered.
Life’s a farce (AM: 65), with a sense of loss. This dignity and pride is, perhaps,
portrayed as men of ironic representation of those false and outdated ideal thoughts and
principals among the Victorians. Shaw wants to clarify that any conception of perfection
idealism would be found as false if the understanding of social convections is not treated
realistically. The moment Louka is hurt by Sergius, after realizing that Raina is going to
leave him, he still upholds his dignity and doesn’t apologize in the way Louka asks
because she is belonging to a lower class. Sergius’ proposal to Louka, in the end of the
play, is multiply illustrated because in one point of view, the reader may call it giving up
the false and outdated ideas towards marriage that Sergius is asking a servant’s hand to
him and it can be also analyzed as a trap of Louka in her creative seeking for achieving
her dream to be promoted with a higher social position.
Another Refined character is Major Paul Petkoff, Raina’s father and Catherine’s
husband who represents some social pretension and aristocratic families. Major Petkoff
is kind of a genial man of fifty in Bulgarian cavalry. He seems to be an able man of
sense, pretentiously comfortable with his own life as a Bulgarian aristocrat. His only
daughter and wife love him and trying to run over him when they prefer their own way.
Petkoff is lenient and strict with his ideas about what is right. He tries to be friend with
Bluntschli because his own personal intentions. Unlike his wife, Paul Petkoff does not
want to change with passing time neither modernizing himself.
Paying attention to his character sketch it can be pointed out that Petkoff believes
that in his society class distinction should be existent and it should play its role of
separating classes from each other. In a remarkable note of Petkoff and Sergius’ sarcastic
words towards the middle class, has noted that ‘Petkoff hates the middle class like
Bluntschli, and Sergius calls Bluntschli ‘commercial traveler in uniform’
(Azizmohammadi, 2014:8). Indeed, Petkoff has even another false understanding
towards having a good reputation or to be popular in a society. With this pretension, it is
considerable that Pitkoff can be ranked as another refined Victorian idealistic character.
Azizmohammadi, for this issue, declares this matter about Petkoff and Catherine by
42
stating that ‘Petkoff thinks that having the library is a sign of showing that he is wealthy.
When he asks Catherine about using bell in the library instead of shouting, she says that
civilized and high class people never shout. They did not know what politeness is, they
are learning proper habits’ (2014: 8). Petkoff’s personal beliefs on being an aristocrat
and having the soul of controlling over other people, who are in lower class, is more
obvious when Shaw, during a conversation in the play, show’s Petkoff and Catherine’s,
in the beginning, a way of thinking towards strict and having a good reputation:
Catherine. you are a barbarian at heart still, Paul. I hope you behaved yourself
before all those Russian officers.
Petkoff. I did my best. I took care to let them know that we have a library.
Catherine. ah; but you didn’t tell them that we have an electric bell in it? I have
had one put up. (AM.39)
This is how Shaw presents Petkoff character to the audience and readers in order to
show this idealistic ideas and beliefs that are subject of manner in a sense of
transformation seen with many other characters. In spite of that transitional state of mind
in some characters, yet, Petkoff doesn’t change his thoughts about perfectionism and
class distinction.
3.3.2.2. Shavian Realists
Another character of this play is Nicola whose state of presentation stands curious till
the end of the play. Nicola’s personality indeed is the most curious case of this play.
Sometimes Shaw presents him as a refined Victorian and some other times he is
presented as ‘the most crawling baseness'(AM.71). Nicola is the manservant of the
Petkoffs. He is a middle aged man, calm and controlled, and calculating his manners. He
accepts with the abuse of his superior people and knows how to deal with his situation as
a servant who treats carefully in the family he works for and keeping their private
secrets. Louka accuses him of having the soul of a servant, but he justifies Louka’s
43
works by saying that ‘the secret of success in service’ (AM: 27). He accepts class
distinctions, though his plan is to gain enough money for opening a shop in Sofia. Nicola
is in the relationship with Louka in the beginning of the play, but the moment she
refuses him by going after Sergius, he tries to help her by advising and how to adopt
with the family, which shows his obedient soul in surface and creative thinker on how to
live up his situation. Here the artist shows the creative evolution in both servants, each in
a different way.
In its beginning of Act II, Shaw describes Nicola by some quite obvious comments
according to his personality and state of mind, which makes the reader and the audience
to be skeptical about judging on Nicola’s outside personality:
He is a middle-aged man of cool temperament and low but clear and keen intelligence,
with the complacency of the servant who values himself on his rank in servility, and the
imperturbability of the accurate calculator who has no illusions’His head is shaved up
to the crown, giving him a high Japanese forehead. (AM. 26)
The only characteristic that takes him considered as a Victorian character is his obedient
and ‘The soul of a servant’ (AM.27) which is representing his curious personality until
the end of the play. Nicola is very careful of himself to keep his job in Pitkoff’s family.
He has taken hold to warn Louka because he has detected in her hostile attitudes and
defiant manners. Nicola threatens Louka plainly with the consequence of warning her “If
you quarrel with the family, I never can marry you” (AM.26).
It is quite clear that Nicola is more attached to the Petcoffs for some material
benefits than to Louka for the emotional reasons. FatimehAzizmohammadi believes that
‘Nicola is wise but he accepts to be scapegoat of the family or is fired by them. He has
desire to go out of his positions and improves. He wants to buy a shop in Sofia in order
to be independent.’ (2014:7). Indeed, he plans to have a more promoted life position, but
he is a bit slow in that progress and that is because Nicola wants to keep those ideas
secret for advancing his material prospects.
44
This attitude of Nicola doesn’t mean that he is totally obedient or naturalistic, but
rather as a creative realist going on with reality. He is as aware of his situation as a
manservant in Petkoff’s family; he is not like a woman to be attracted by others to the
family like the other servant is, Louka. That’s why he just lives up in a quiet and calm
way for his personal or vested interests to be accepted by others and not losing his only
job until his time comes and have his own independent job.
As soon as Nicola finds that Louka and Sergius are going to marry, he becomes
more socially realistic by releasing her immediately in cold-blooded acceptance within
his position:
Nicola. But it was only to give Louka protection. She had a soul above her
station, and I’ve been no more than her confidential servant” (AM.71).
However, this can’t be analyzed as an act of stoicism but rather as creative evolutionist.
Nicola is, indeed, obedient and but absolutely satisfied with his position in the family as
a servant. He seems to be an obedient character, but deep inside he has admissions
toward a better future, but in a slow and calm progress of development until he gets his
chance.
In act III during conversations, Sergius and Bluntschli talk about Nicola with some keen
descriptions about him and his uncertain and ambiguous character and personality:
SERGIUS. This is either the finest heroism or the most crawling baseness. Which
is it, Bluntschli?
BLUNTSCHLI. Never mind whether it’s heroism or baseness. Nicola’s the ablest
man I’ve met in Bulgaria. I’ll make him manager of a hotel if he can speak French and
German. (AM.71)
This is the curious case of Nicola, from the early beginning till the end of the play, the
reader is skeptical of ranking him with refined Victorian and at the same time. In some
45
comments of Shaw and in Bluntschli’s words towards Nicola, it seems that he is
realistically having some creative imagination for his life and future career, but in a slow
progress, and this can rank him with Shavian realists.
Another character who is quite evident to be ranked with Shavian realists is
Bluntschli. He is a man with ” undistinguished appearance, with strong neck and
shoulders, a roundish, obstinate looking head covered with short crisp bronze
curls’with a sense of humor’ (AM. 13).
Throughout the presentation of this character, Shaw has definitely given new
conceptual beliefs and thoughts of an individual. Bluntschli is the rise of new creative
evolutionary environmental individualism and social realism. He is presented to be calm
and smart when it comes to be treated with life conditions like love and war. Through
some events undergoing within this character, Shaw is consciously aiming to cover up
the possible positive face in a problematic condition. Shaw finds Bluntschli as a best
way to convey his multiple contradictory notions about life in general and in love and
war in particular.
The slaw continuous progressive development in Bluntschli is to be considered
as Shaw’s creativity over his dramatic victory in which Shaw as a critic satirizes the
notion of outdated and false idealism of Sergius by Bluntschli with the sense of humor.
Indeed, in can be deliberate that Bluntschli is presented by Shaw as an object exactly for
satirizing those old notions through his realistic ideas and more practical thoughts than
those of Serguis and some others. In the beginning, they can guess less than what Shaw
gives Bluntschli’s personality because of his hidden capacity. Bluntschli doesn’t risk in
any unquestionable tasks, he confesses in a very realistic way to Raina about his
awareness of conscious on life:
MAN[Bluntschli]. Well, I don’t intend to get killed if I can help it. (Still more
determinedly.) Do you understand that? (He locks the door with a snap.)
46
RAINA (disdainfully). I suppose not. (She draws herself up superbly, and looks
him straight in the face, saying with emphasis) Some soldiers, I know, are afraid of
death.
MAN[Bluntschli] (with grim goodhumor). All of them, dear lady, all of them,
believe me. It is our duty to live as long as we can. (AM.13)
The reader may call this confession of Bluntschli’s awareness of life as being a coward,
but indeed, he is to be analyzed as simply and realistically as un heroic hero. In some
other words, Bluntschli has all characteristics of a real hero but they are not appearing in
his outside appearance, they are appearing only in practical manners. This is what Shaw
exactly tends to convey, he makes the individual more practical and realistic
ideologically imaginations. This indicates that Shaw has firmly intended to make a better
ideology in the society for his readers and audiences.
This is more evident when Bluntschli reveals his true character, personality when
he says ‘My rank is the highest in Switzerland: I am a free citizen’ (AM.75) Indeed,
‘Bluntschli is a Swiss, a professional soldier fighting for the Serbs’ (Harper, 1984:52)
but carries sweet candies instead of bullets. This leads to present Bluntschli’s
understanding between being mercenary and a ‘chocolate cream soldier’ (AM.21). The
implication of this descriptive complement shows Blintschli’s anti-glorification on war
and anti-romanticism of love; he is so realistic in these manners.
This kind of mental transition is not really happening to Bluntshcli. Indeed, as a
result of what the dramatist has conveyed, it becomes more obvious that the source of
this transition and transformation is due to the effect of Bluntshcli who introduces new
ideas of love and informational reports about warfare issues. Raina becomes aware more
consciously after Bluntshcli comes into her life, she changes her perspectives and the
way she thinks towards almost every manner she deals with her real life including love
and war, all by Bluntshcli’s support. This is what a Shavian social realist does; s/he is
regarded to be treated with life in a creative and realistic way of understanding.
47
As the play goes to its final scenes, Shaw reveals the hidden and slow progress of
Bluntshcli’s victory and success accordingly with his social realism understanding over
the outdated and false ideas of Victorian idealist characters: first when Raina admits her
confession to Sergius and Bluntschli:
SERGIUS. What says the lady?
RAINA (pretending to sulk). The lady says that he can keep his tablecloths and
his omnibuses. I am not here to be sold to the highest bidder.
BLUNTSCHLI. I won’t take that answer. I appealed to you as a fugitive, a
beggar, and a starving man. You accepted me. You gave me your hand to kiss, your bed
to sleep in, and your roof to shelter me-
RAINA (interrupting him). I did not give them to the Emperor of Switzerland!
BLUNTSCHLI. That’s just what I say. (He catches her hand quickly and looks
her straight in the face as he adds, with confident mastery) Now tell us who you did give
them to.
RAINA (succumbing with a shy smile). To my chocolate cream soldier! (AM.75-
76)
In this extract, Shaw is to be shocking his readers with such a great victory of
realization. However, the second evident to Bluntschli’s success is found in the same
extract. Even though the Petkoffs and all other characters know the real rich Bluntschli,
yet his proposal to Raina can be analyzed as the simplest way possible. The last evident
is Sergius’ last comment on Bluntschli ‘What a man! What a man!’ (AM.76).
Louka is another Shavian socialist and creative character that has no beliefs for
the strict Victorian values. Louka is the earthy and spirited maidservant of the Petkoff
family. She is kind of proud, rebellious and insolent to Raina that she sees through.
Louka flirts with Sergius under the noses others. She declares that she will never have
the soul of a servant. Louka is Raina’s rival for Sergius, she is intelligent and witty,
knowing how to control Sergius so that he proposes to her.
48
Louka is the main voice for the equality of the classes in the play, or in other
words, she is the voice of the Shavian New Woman that looks for her absolute rights in
the society and doesn’t believe in class distinction, the new woman who is interested in
social matters and she is socialist dreamer. This notion of Shavian modernism in
individuals and Shaw’s beliefs about it is explained by Piers J. Hale that ‘If modern
civilization was to survive, Shaw believed, humanity would have to attain to a higher
character, something that could only be brought about by bringing human evolution
under conscious control’ (2006:201). Louka claims that she has an absolute right to
choose whomever she wants to marry. Her feeling of sense that Raina will marry
Bluntschi in the end.
Louka as a woman is described as a strong dreamer and firmly hopeful. For his
dramatic purpose, Shaw’s presentation of this character as a servant is too conveyable to
be covering up the circumstances of a woman living in a high class in such a society.
Louka’s part in this play can be taken as the bravest rule that is going to be taken in the
play, in which Shaw changes and proves her position in the society from a maidservant
to a wife of a man belonging to the high class. The character development in Louka is,
perhaps, Shaw’s own aiming goal for a better or anti-class distinctive environmental
society.
Through enabling Louka to a stronger and more confident woman, Shaw
presents the firm and creative self-improvement of an individual which is not to be
illustrated as sense of sympathy but rather as self-esteem from a willing woman.
Florence Boos makes a statement in his article The Socialist “New Woman” by stating
that the ‘Socialist-feminist reformers similarly demanded an utter end to prudery and
assertion of women’s (hetero)sexual desires’ (1995:164).
From the early beginning of the play, Louka is presented to be eyeing on some goals to
achieve that are higher than her position as a servant. The reader feels that she is not
having ‘soul of a servant’ (AM.28). Through this self-esteem, Shaw breaks off all social
barriers and expectations in Louka’s path, she starts from the zero point by getting to the
highest point she probably wanted to get, which is making somebody fall into her love
49
from the highest principals and standing in her society. Another hint that takes reader’s
response to her strong personality is found when Louka claims to Nicola:
Louka (scornfully). You were born to be a servant. I was not. When you set up
your shop you will only be everybody’s servant instead of somebody’s servant. (AM.58)
This indicates Shaw’s concept of the creative evolution in individual self-esteem and
improvement. However, Louka is further seen to be developed in her psychological state
of mind when she makes Sergius fall in love with her and ask her hand for marriage. She
is not seen as wishing that Sergius would ask her hand, but rather she is proving her
personality to him and making him leave his idealistic false ideas and outdated habits
towards class distinction by telling Sergius:
LOUKA. I would marry the man I loved, which no other queen in Europe has the
courage to do. If I loved you, though you would be as far beneath me as I am beneath
you, I would dare to be the equal of my inferior. Would you dare as much if you loved
me? No’You dare not: you would marry a rich man’s daughter because you would be
afraid of what other people would say of you. (AM.61)
This is the most shocking acclaim to Sergius which later makes him realize that Louka is
the best choice to marry and break those false social barriers that he was advocate to.
3.3.2.3. Victorian Shavians
The most significant character of this play that transforms and changes her beliefs from
Victorian to Shavian’s is Raina. Raina Petkoff is the very beautiful daughter of the
Bulgarian landowner, Major Paul Petkoff. She is twenty-three years old and engaged to
Major SergiusSaranoff. Raina is a daydreamer desiring to take on adventures and
romance. Later on, she becomes surprised to find herself attracted and interested to the
enemy, Captain Bluntschli. She falls in love with him and finds him suitable for her,
because he is able to see through her and the opposite.
50
In the first beginning, Raina is seen as a Victorian idealistic girl in her way of
thinking towards the romantic love and glorified war. For this understanding towards her
principles, Marilynn D. Harper has noted that ‘Raina is seen, at first, as the romantic
idealist, but she is also characterized as being a fleeting realist when she wonders if her
idealism and Sergius’ idealism might be due simply to the fact that they have read so
much poetry by Byron and other romantics’ (1984:61). For the war as well, she is
presented in the beginning of the play to show the idealism in the war, according to
Raina, should be glorified as its more remarkably been stated that ‘Raina wants to glory
in the noble idealism of the war’ (Harper. 1984:61). However, she has the soul of
transition or transformation within her state of mind. After the meeting, introducing to
and falling in love with Captain Bluntschli, Raina becomes totally transformed from
idealized Victorian to a Shavian modernist and social realist. And all her thoughts are
gradually changing about class distinction, war and love.
Indeed, Raina is presented to be one of Shaw’s most representative conflict
through whom, Shaw performs the contradicted and multiple ideas that are presented in
this character. Raina is analyzed to be sort of a hero for her most struggling and
conflicting events. From her transformation in idealistic beliefs towards war and highly
imaginative feelings towards love into a realist woman, Shaw aims to make the
individual realize the truth in realization.
Undergoing through some events, Shaw presents some rhetorical and
philosophical speech that makes his drama famous in such a figurative style. This is seen
when Raina examines Bluntschli to know if he can find the true personality inside her,
as she says ‘I want to be quite perfect with Sergius-no meanness, no smallness, no
deceit’ (AM.53).
However, Shaw’s progressive change in Raina’s personality is, again, to assert on
the concept of identity realization and one’s true goal for achieving according to what
s/he wants not to what others want in him or her with the realistic understanding on
society rather than an idealized and romantic one. Here and again, the artist shows the
triumph of the anti-class distinctive woman over the social barriers and restrictive
51
conditions with a transitional change in the state of mind. This is the reason why she
refuses to marry the highest bidder and instead, claims she would give her hands to
Bluntschli as in words to ‘my chocolate cream soldier’ (AM.70).
Another character who is facing transformation and transitions from Victorian
idealism towards social realism is Catherine. She is the proper mother of Raina and the
wife of Major Paul Petkoff. She can run her household in an energetical way. Catherine
is seemed to be proud of their position and sometimes she is presented that she wants to
be modern and up to date.
At the beginning of the play Catherine is so strict with social principles.
‘Catherine is another character who makes division between her family and the servants,
while play attacks division of ranks’ (Azizmohammadi. 2014:8). Indeed, she is quite
conscious and aware of what social conditions she may be about to that’s why Catherine
is every time looking for small details not to be blamed by others opinion in a strict way.
But later, again, after the coming of Bluntschli with his new thoughts and ideas to reality
in socialism, she becomes more comfortable because of her inside desire of being
modernist. Finally with her logical conscious and realistic treatment, she welcomes and
accepts Captain Bluntschli of being her daughter’s husband.
Actually, Catherine is presented in the beginning of the play as a very refined Victorian
character for her idealism toward love and life in general. She thinks that Sergius can be
Raina’s ideal husband and she doesn’t like Bluntschli for his outside appearance, but
after figuring out his true personality and that he is richer that Sergius, then Catherine
realistically changes to accept the situation. The dramatist has presented Catherine in
this manner, even in her treatment with her servants. As it is presented in the play, she
used to show her priority and control over her servants since they are in a lower class,
but again after Louka is getting married to Sergius, and then Catherine accepts such a
reality to live up with it despite her previous snobbery and silliness.
52
3.4. Coming of Modernism in Shaw’ Arms and the Man
3.4.1. Arms and The Man and The Rejection to The Old Romantic Traditions
3.4.1.1. Anti-Romantic Love
In Arms and The Man, there are two kinds of love; one is highly idealistic and the other
one is simply realistic. The main contrasts are going around this understanding and
convictions of love which is G. B. Shaw’s intends to convey. In the beginning of the
play, it can be seen that Shaw presents the idealism of love within some characters like
Sergius, Raina and Catherine and their way of thinking toward love with a highly
imaginative and idealist notion. For instance, the way Sergius and Raina is talking to
each other and sharing their love feeling is so idealistic that they usually read the
romantic Lord Byron’s poetry. Raina sometimes even imagines herself in another world
of fantasy when she is with Sergius. On one occasion Raina confesses her feeling to her
mother about her love feelings to Sergius by saying ” it came into my head just as he
was holding me in his arms and looking into my eyes, that perhaps we only had our
heroic ideas because we are so fond of reading Byron and Pushkin”(AM.10).
It is the same with Catherine, for she thinks that Sergius can be Raina’s ideal
husband for his wealth and social position. Indeed, all these characters in these early
scenes are unrealistically thinking about love which is Shaw’s purpose to show the
Victorians’ understanding toward love in such a period of time.
To be more realistic on Shaw’s eye on romance notions, it can be said that Shaw
is not extremely against romantic feelings and ways towards love, but instead, he is only
against the heroic and highly exaggerated romantic love. Furthermore, it becomes more
clear that his choice of such a satirical, comedy and anti-romantic play is because ‘Shaw
wrote this play at the time when people in England were fond of an exaggerated form of
romanticism in comedies'(Singh and Dubey. 2013:3).
Shaw is very skillfully rejecting such notions towards love by presenting such satirical
comedy in the play to show the negative consequences of such convictions. And that
creativity makes his purpose successfully conveyed when the realistic notions and ideas
53
about love are presented by Captain Bluntschli who changes Raina’s way of thinking
towards love and reality as well and wins her hand in the end.
3.4.1.2. Anti-Glorifying War
Indeed, G. B. Shaw has taken the title of the play from Virgil’s epic poem Aenied (19
B.C.) that starts with ‘Of arms and the man I sing’ in which Virgil glorifies war and its
heroism in the battlefield. But here Shaw uses this title as a satire on those romantic
traditions of war.
Shaw introduces the play that there is a war taken by the Bulgarians in a very
romantic, traditional point of view, especially by the Petkoffs and Sergius. They think
taking the war would give them a sense of honor, of the victory, no matter how many
people die.
Shaw ironically presents this notion as a kind of victory to cover up the probable
idealism held by some advocates to such ideas like Sergius particularly. Sergius thinks
that war is kind of a ‘tournament’ (AM.31). Sergius is usually talking about traditional
war victories which were taken in ancient times. But Shaw satirizes these notions in a
humorous way that, again, indicates to his style. Here, Shaw’s aiming goal is not against
the war as all, but rather he is against glorifying the war because of him, as a social
realist, there should not be any glorification towards war since there is nothing except
killing people. This is also what a modern literary critic is against.
Concerning to how Shaw’s presentation of this notion, the reader would find a
great amount of satirical humor against those characters who are upholding such ideas.
Sergius, for example, is found to be praised by all the Petkoffs for his heroic notions
towards warfare. But when it comes to the practical manner, he is found to be opposed
to how they have been thinking about him.
Moreover, this notion is seen even with Catherine Petkoff when she hears that the
victory of Bulgarians, not because it is over or because peace has been announced, but
rather because her joy towards the victory as a glorification and for praising Sergius, as
in the following extracts:
54
CATHERINE. A great battle at Slivnitza! A victory! And it was won by Sergius.
RAINA (with a cry of delight). Ah! (Rapturously.) Oh, mother! (Then, with
sudden anxiety) Is father safe?
CATHERINE. Of course: he sent me the news. Sergius is the hero of the hour,
the idol of the regiment. (AM.35)
Catherine, like Sergius, is upholding a false idealism towards the war. She doesn’t know
what a war would cost. Shaw underlines this concept and satirizes it even more when a
sense of disappointment is seen by Catherine when she knows that the peace is
announced, she declares her glorifying beliefs to her husband that he ‘could have
annexed Servia and made Prince Alexander Emperor of the Balkans. That’s what I
would have done’ (AM.29).
War for Shaw is not totally rejected, but realistically he rejects the glorification of war
because of its negative consequences. In an article titled as Anti-Romantic Views On
War, ParulYadav state to Shaw’s critical and realistic view about the war in the
following words:
Shaw’s main aim was to expose the society deliberately and
powerfully. Shaw in his dramas like Caesar and Cleopatra, Arms
and the Man, & Man of Destiny create heroes who are naturally
great, who can see things out of reach of ordinary man. He
describes his heroes by putting them in amazing situations in
which they act with self-control and with total freedom from
convention. His realism is that of a critic of society, he creates
characters who are his mouthpieces expressing his views.
(Yadav. 2013:82)
However, the style of Shaw comes to be clear through the representation of these
characters and the way they speak. Indeed, it is Shaw’s more important dramatic
technique to convey a message through rhetorical speech than action. His plays are
always famous as full of ideas and less action.
55
Nevertheless, Shaw’s message for a realistic and social condition in war is more seen as
peaceful notion which a modern critic would take it worth considering. Shaw’s
presentation of Bluntschli is at the best level for such a goal. From the beginning of the
play till the end of it, he is against taking himself into a blind risk and losing his life.
Instead, Bluntschli is even begging Raina to save his life. Instead of carrying weapon
and bullets, he takes sweet chocolates to save the sugar percentage of his body so it
would give him more time to survive in the unexpected case of war. Through the
personality of Bluntschli the conceptual notions of democracy and realism are found to
be illustrated and related to what a modern society stands with.
3.4.2. Conflicts and Struggles in Arms and the Man
3.4.2.1. Survival of the Social Realist
The social realists or the Shavians or as some critics may call them sometimes as
Fabians are those characters who live with socially realist principles and stand with a
humane sense of equality in a society with no class distinctions and boundaries
according to one’s freedom of choice and beliefs. These characters are presented with a
gradual progress of development in their state of mind.
In this play, Arms and The Man, G. B. Shaw presents his characters in this field
in a way that are presented from the beginning of the play until its end as creative social
realists like Captain Bluntschli, who is present in the early beginning as a middle class
character for his outside appearance, and Louka who is a maidservant of the Petkoffs. G.
B. Shaw presents the portrait of Bluntschli as survival of love and war. Bluntschli is seen
many times throughout the play to be satirizing the old notions of romantic love and of
the glorification of war as a melodramatic skill of Shaw himself. Bluntachli is always
simple and realistic towards these two concepts. He deals with every matter in a cool
and creative way of thinking, he is not a highest bidder as Sergius, but rather, simpler in
spite of his wealth, he prefers to be called as the same chocolate cream soldier and so he
wins the conflicts and struggles for his beliefs. On the other hand, Shaw presents Louka
as another Shavian social realist character. Despite her belonging to a lower class as a
56
servant, yet she is presented as the most creative social realist woman that lives with
strong beliefs and self-confident in her dreams.
Shaw’s aim of presenting Louka as such is to convey, to a great extent, his
feminist beliefs so as to show the voice of the new woman. Louka is like an evolutionist
woman seeking for her place and identity and a deserved position in the society. She
fights as a servant that doesn’t believe in the concept of class distinction and any sort of
individual barriers to achieving a dream. She tries to get herself off the top of stage by
making Sergius, who is the most idealistic, romantic and a rich aristocratic person, fall in
love with her and then in the end asking her hand and his ” admiration for fixed
principles traps him into marriage with Louka’ (Iqbal & Ali. 2013:233).
Louka the servant is now proposed by the rich and aristocratic Major SergiusSaranoff.
This is, indeed, Shaw’s intention to show the triumph of social realism over the Victorian
idealism in class distinction and in marriage, and also to present the new voice and
charisma of a new modern woman that is side by side with the man equally in all
aspects. This notion of new modern woman is demonstrated in ChutaratBanthakit’s
Feminism and Realism in George Bernard Shaw as in the following words:
Modern women turned their interest towards this new
womanhood by pondering on rational dress, education,
profession, social status, financial independence and personal
fulfillment as men did. The topic of marriage and motherhood,
traditionally regarded as woman’s nature and ultimate goal, came
in for criticism by feminist thinkers”. (2011:3)
This new understanding and reality of new woman is extremely seen with Louka and her
success.
3.4.2.2. Failure of Victorian Idealist
The failure of Victorian idealism in this play is seen by the idealist characters that are
strict with some out-of-date and old fashioned ideas and principles. The failure of such
characters is seen, to a great extent, in Raina, Sergius, Petkoff and Catherine’s character.
As presented in the early beginning of the play, Raina thinks about war with
57
glorification and about love in highly imaginative and idealistic perspective. Berst
believes that the romantic notions of love with Raina and Serguis are ‘the one which
meets restrictions even in its simplest contracts with life’ (1966:201). She is too much
exaggerating while thinking towards life. Later on, after Bluntschli comes into her life,
Raina becomes someone else and her way of thinking towards war and love gradually
changes in a transitional progress in the state of mind and so she becomes more realistic
than before. It is believed that after she meets Bluntschli ‘Raina’s vague romantic
dreams about war, warriors, and heroism become more real’ (Hooti&Boldaji.
2013:959). That’s because she fails in treating with life in an idealistic way that’s why
she becomes realistic.
Sergius as well as Raina is a very refined idealistic Victorian character, he is an
aristocrat person. Sergius, as mentioned before, is sharing his higher love feelings in
many occasions that are called by Raina as the ‘highest bidder’ (AM.75). Shaw’s
portrait of Sergius is ironically presented for those who take life so seriously or
Sergiusly, his personality is suggested by Muhammad Iqbal in these words:
Sergius perceives that his self and the principles of patriotism,
love and chivalry that he was prepared to die for stand at
opposite poles. So he slides to disillusionment, accept the
banality of the world and starts taking life as a tale told by an
idiot. (2013:232)
The case of Sergius is to a further meaning behind himself is pointed straightly direct to
the Victorian idealistic false understanding within traditional convictions. However,
Shaw’s intention about portraying the character of Sergius and Raina and their early
idealistic convictions is declared by Hooti&Boldaji stating that Shaw ‘wants his
audience to see through the realities of life as it is not as it would be in our vision and
imagination'(2013:957).
Shaw through Catherine and Petkoff’s point of view towards class distinction, love and
war again tries, ironically, to show the failure of idealistic convictions. This is
considered to be pointed out when the two Petkoff accepting their servant Louka, after
58
being proposed by Sergius, as a new respected and one of their class members. It is also
seen when the Catherine warmly agrees Bluntschli over Sergius to be her Daughter’s
husband. In this case, their opinions and way of thinking toward old traditions about
class and life, in a transitional progress, changes and becomes more modernized and
realistic after the failure of old ones.
3.5. Shaw’s Language and The Use of Figurative Elements
In this subsection, the most important literary elements related to figures of speech taken
from the play will be demonstrated and semantically analyzed. Semantic elements like
symbols, motifs, metaphors, s??m??les, irony, and imagery will be illustrated from some
important speech by characters’ conversat??on conversat??ons and from some figurative
occasions within the play Arms and the Man.
The most important figure in the play can be the title of the play itself. The Arms and the
Man is taken from the opening lines of John Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s epic The
Aeneid. Dryden’s translates Virgil’s Armavirmaquecanoas ‘Arms and the man I sing’.
The Virgil’s poem does indeed sing of several battles, and of a hero, Aeneas, who led
the defeated Trojans to Rome to found there a new nation. Shaw’s play, set in the early
days of a new nation, Bulgaria, attempts to distinguish between true and false concepts
of heroism, virtue, honor and national dignity. Shaw’s ‘Man’ is Bluntschli, as the last
words of the play remind us. Bluntschli too shows the way forward to a new nation. But
his morality and courage is very different from Aeneas’ and he is highly suspicious of
idealism. For Shaw, ancient Roman concepts and standards, among others, have had
their day, and Bluntschli is his modern Aeneas-the ‘Man’ of new age. Furthermore,
Shaw’s choice of creating the ‘Chocolate Cream Sold??er’ ??s perhaps one of the most
significant symbols ??n the play which is used as a paradox. In the early beginning of the
play, Ra??na calls Bluntschli as a chocolate cream soldier because he was carrying sweets
in his pocket instead of carrying cartridge for battle. In the beginning, Raina uses that
phrase as an insult on Bluntschli. She thinks that carrying sweets for battle is sort of
unheroic act and not brave. Later on, Raina is shocked and amazed after she realizes
59
Bluntschli’s true personality and realistic notions towards love and war, not so highly
imaginative and romantic heroism as Sergius. In the end, the ‘Chocolate Cream Soldier’
becomes a pet name used by Raina for Bluntschli. Another figurative symbol used in the
play, is the Major Petkoff’s Coat. After Raina gives her father’s coat to Bluntschli, the
coat becomes bigger from the back of shoulders. Th??s makes Petkoff realize that his coat
is given to another man by his wife and daughter without h??s knowledge, a man who is,
as Shaw tries to convey, more a man than Petkoff both figuratively and literally.
Shaw’s use of electric bells and library in Petkoff’s house is used both ironically and
hinting towards new pretentions for the modern family. The reader can get to a
realization that the library is nothing more than a pretention of high class status for
showing off by educat??on and at the same time they don’t use even one book to read, all
the books in the library are covered by dust. Catherine is happier by using the electronic
bell for yelling the servants than just shouting at them like her husband does. In one
opinion, this presents Show’s affirmation in this character in a transitional progress
towards a modern family class, and it also shows the Victorian class’ pretentions as it is
seen in Petkoff’s ignorance to the bell.
In other hand, Shaw’s ironic presentation of the highly imaginative pretensions of love
and war are seen in Raina’s personality in the beginning of the play, before she is
introduced to Bluntschli. This is seen with Sergius’ portrait in Raina’s room. When she
knows of Sergius’ victory in charge, she reacts as if it is a piece of religious
iconography, she tries to exalt the portrait, but throughout the scene of the play, it
doesn’t show any ‘bodily affection’ for Sergius’ image but rather for the portrait
(AM:5). This also makes Raina feel of her ‘ideas’ of romantic love. This can be
illustrated allegorically that Shaw is presenting Raina act with the use of simile ‘like a
priestess’ towards Sergius’ portrait.
In the scenes when Raina asks Bluntschli is he knows her beloved Sergius, Bluntschli
uses many similes to compare Sergius to some other names for comical and ironic
purposes. He describes Sergius as an ‘operatic tenor’ and contradictory looks of his
appearance and of his real and practical personality. Some other times, he refers Sergius
60
as ‘Don Quixote’ (AM: 14). Just like his Sergius is always showing off that he is a
heroic man and when it comes to face reality, Sergius’ true personality is revealed to be
shattered. Bluntschli reveals Sergius’ true personality by revealing that his success is all
a result of dumb luck rather than a true soldier.
In another f??gurative name used for Bluntschli, Shaw tries to show his personal notions
of social realism and anti-class distinction. Th??s is seen when Sergius describes
Bluntschli like a ‘commercial traveler’ (AM: 30).
In this chapter, a clear and effective demonstration on the first start of practical part has
been illustrated. For this chapter, Shaw’s drama Arms and the Man have taken and so it
has been studied and analyzed with the data methods. First, a short introduction to the
present author’s biography, works and style of writing have been presented. Then, the
concentration is presented to be keener to go further into the work and illustrate the
transitional traits in the novel found within the events presented by the characters and
within some figurative occasions. The transition that comes to change characters’
perspectives and state of mind from Victorian Idealism towards Social Realism and the
rise of modernism is also presented within the mentioned data analysis. The traits and
evidential examples that proof the rise of modern literature and modern thinking of life
in general have been illustrated and presented.
61
CHAPTER FOUR
4.1. Biography of E. M. Forster
The author, Edward Morgan Forster was born on January/1/1879 in London from an
upper middle class family (Bradshaw. 2007:1). His father was an architect who died two
years later, after Forster’s birth and the younger Forster was grown up by his mother and
aunt. That’s why the influence of women became an important preference for most of
his great works of novels, which shed light on some characters in many of his novels.
Forster graduated from King’s College in Cambridge in 1901, and later on he
found his career in writing. He traveled to Italy and Greece with his mother, and worked
as a teacher in Germany in 1905. In the same year he published the first novel “Where
Angels Fear to tread”. The Longest Journey 1907 and A Room with a View
1908(Bradshaw. 2007:1). Forster wrote the first part of A Room with a View while he
was staying in Italy with his mother. The novel shows his great support for the liberal
social behaviors about Edwardian age against some of old fashion Victorian age ideals.
He wrote this novel and some other ones in the Edwardian world, in which the traditions
and modernity has been conflicting with each other’s notions (Poole. 2009:346) from his
earlier works and even later, Forster was more famous of his lighter and more
conversational in diction than the other English novelists. Not to ignore his significance,
it is worth to mention that Forster has lived in the Late Victorian period, observing and
practicing with the cultural issues, and published most of his famous novels in the
Edwardian era. What makes Forster get such a great style was the effectiveness and
advantages of his travels and, to a great extent, his good interaction with everyone
around him that made him such a social analysis writer. His Howard’s End has been
published in 1910 and then in 1924 A Passage to India has been published which is
known as his most mature and the masterpiece of his works.
During the Edwardian Age, an optimistic ideal had come to existence to stand
against Victorian old fashions and turned almost everything upside down for a new
62
world of liberty as Barbera states more figuratively in her own words that “‘a great
deal of Forster’s literary work illustrates, almost to the point of perfection, in late 19th
and early 20th-century England -or, what has conventionally been referred to as
‘Victorian-Edwardian England’, the clash between two sensibilities, one ”Victorian”,
the other ‘liberal'”(Barbera. 2002:2).
A general optimism come to prevail which manifested in the belief that man might be
better through a more liberal education. Throughout his life, Forster emphasized on the
importance of individuality and the good and on his belief in humanity’s potential
towards self-improvement. Forster became one of active member of a movement of
writers and thinkers known as the Bloomsbury Group which is a number of intellectuals
defined as radical opposition to Victorian traditions(Bradshaw. 2007:9). The other
famous members of the group were Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes.
4.2. Style
The works of the novelist E. M. Forster are most famous in his unique style of writing in
which his career has been developed as an author. His style of writing is mostly in the
third person narration and novels go around a lot of dialogues to rely on developing the
storyline, as Peter Hill states that “If the style makes itself apparent, then the presence of
the author [Forster] comes closer to the fore, making the reader more aware of the
subjective nature of the narrator’s judgments”(2008:72). There is also a unique way of
choosing the setting of his novels for his artistic and cultural purpose as seen in A
Passage to India and A Room with a View specifically.
The use of third person omniscient narration in Forster’s style of writing is useful for the
reader in which, all the events can be easily understood that are going around the story
of the novel, and it gives depth of a level for creating ideas. By reading novels in such an
interesting style, the reader can be able to control over all characters’ personalities and
their thoughts. This unique style of writing also helps the reader to analyze the events
and judge the novel in an easier ways and even in more interesting ways. Critics assert
that this style makes Forster’s writing kind of ambiguous for considering him either as a
63
Victorian or modernist novelist, this perspective of studying author’s style is further
described by Peter S. Hill’s words:
His [Forster] novels tended toward a more straightforward
narrative style; Malcolm Bradbury describes Forster as ‘not, in
the conventional sense, a modernist, but rather a central figure of
the transition into modernism.’ Likewise, Forster described
himself as belonging to the ‘fag-end of Victorian liberalism.
(2008:6)
This kind of perspective takes the reader interestingly to follow up with Forster’s event
actions in a way that it helps the reader to understand the actions and read their reaction
in spite of too much events as they go on throughout the uprising, climax and downrising
action.
Forster’s style of writing is laid on an overwhelming perspective in a way that it
gives an intimation sense of emotional discourse of music, Mahmoud Salami has stated
on this concern about Forster’s style in writing by declaring that “Forster is concerned
with how music can vividly convey one’s own stories and experiences’ Forster has
appropriately employed music as a narrative discourse because it quite literally functions
as a site through which the inner feelings and intentions of characters are dramatically
revealed”(2009:136). However, the reader has the ability to understand the well rounded
events of the story as it goes on in Forster’s novels and still expecting characters sketch
as the way they are narrated. Nevertheless, Forster’s uniqueness is lied on his perception
on taking his reader’s attention more than only ahis desire just to reader and slide over
the novel’s pages:
While acknowledging the high quality of plot and
characterization, they see that the author is not simply aiming to
make his readers turn the pages. He is inviting them to pause and
reflect from time to time: to see in the events as they are
described patterns which constantly recur in our world and to
judge them by moral principles which are sensitive to the full
implications of each particular situation. (Beer. 1962:3)
64
The uniqueness in his writing style is that Forster gives a chance to his reader,
sometimes, to feel sympathizing to the characters. In this perspective, it can be said that
the significance of Forster’s style is laid on the way he takes the readers’ impression and
attention to his characters. By doing so, the reader can have the ability to have the
imaginative and creative control of analyzing characters and figuring out the good and
bad sides of the story, this is kind of refreshing to the reader for the reason that s/he
becomes sort of creative critic on judging the novel. Forster does not give all clear
images of the plot or of his characters but instead, he allows the reader to figure out and
analyze the events by the open-ended story according to the characters reactions,
thoughts and feelings. This notion of Forster’s artificial open-ending events is, perhaps,
intentionally meant to make the reader involved in analyzing and interpreting the text. In
this concern, Dalia Oppenheimer states that ‘Forster reminds us that it is the reader’s
responsibility to respond the particular engagement with culture that the author offersand
that this action is in and of itself a form of cultural transmission”(2011:243). This is
seen, for example, in A Room with a View when Forster makes some contradictory
events and actions with his character.
On the other side, there are some joyful backdrop settings that Forster intentionally
creates to put his emotional imagination stylistically as the third narration style. There
are some characters that are travelling to Italy for a new view in which they get more
views about other views. The idea of “a view” is significant in A Room with a View in
which the artist create some contradictory and impressive scene settings for the purpose
of contrasting and tracing cultures. By doing so, Forster has artificially tried to show
“how an author might try to transmit cultural artifacts culled from ancient to modern
times”(Oppenheimer. 2011:244).
65
4.3. Transitional Traits in Forster’s A Room with A View
4.3.1. Forster’s Gaze on the ‘New Woman’
After the death of Queen Victoria (1901), English society has been gradually changing
toward a modern life through the Edwardian period. “Before 1900 a critical transition in
the standard of living had already been accomplished in Britain. The majority of the
population was no longer struggling” (Thompson. 1992:191). Like the Late Victorian
period, Edwardian’s has sought new perspectives and can be considered as another
dominant transitional period in English history. The change and prosperity have been
seen and found in a better extend almost in every aspect including the woman. The
woman, in that time has become one of the dominant subjects of literary critics and their
writings, because in the real life. E. M. Forster alongside other famous authors was
interested and devoted, to an extent, to feminism and looking for a woman’s right place
and true identity in the society.
In many of his works, Forster has been emphasizing on the project of the new
woman. The term new woman itself is seen in many of Forster’s works, he depicts all
probable possibilities a woman could face in that specific period of time and look for a
way of solving her problems including social boundaries and conditions, freedom of
choice, marriage and woman’s financial interests. For this concern, David Bradshaw
demonstrates the conscious awareness of Forster in his own writing:
‘The Feminine Note in Literature’, then, shows that Forster, at
the height of his literary career, is conscious of the material
impact of the rise of the New Woman and feminism on fiction;
that he is also conscious of gender and sexuality in relation to
formalism and symbolism, and in relation to the politics of
reading. Forster’s ability here to address the same text to two
differently gendered audiences may also be evident in his fiction.
His paper also shows his concern for an ideal of humanity, and
of writing, that is beyond gender categorization, while grounded
in gendered individualism and particularity. (2007:124)
66
In A Room with a View, for example, Forster has created a female character Lucy that
stands as a dynamic character. At the beginning of the novel, Lucy looks like a refined
Victorian woman for what she belongs and what her actions seem to be. Throughout the
overflowing actions in the novel, Forster gradually creates some transformational
characteristics and traits in Lucy to show the birth of a new woman.
The image of the new woman in the character Lucy is so clearly seen with her changing
perspectives towards life, especially towards the freedom of choice and in marriage.
This artistic scale shows Forster’s interest in writing about the new woman in order to
place the term in a right place with a gradually progressive period of time. Nevertheless,
it is not surprising for suggesting that Forster’s aim of making the female character as the
protagonist is a hint for modern thoughts on his novel. Indeed, he “Forster also
anticipates modernist aesthetics in his focus on the value of instincts and the inner lives
of his characters and through his dynamic conception of identity, including sexual
identity (Grmelova. 2004:26). The term new woman and referencing social project is
seen not only in this novel, it’s seen in many of Forster’s works that are directly or
indirectly pointed and directed to indicate women’s social place and anti-determinism.
For his artistic intentions, Forster portraits the implication of the new woman even to
convey more controversial and humane purposes for that the woman is deliberate as the
connotation of seeking the liberal humanism, individualism and identity. Forster uses
tourism and travelling for the woman to discover the world be her own as seen in Lucy,
her “role as a tourist – a sightseer – is thus steeped in sexual meanings: in this scheme,
the tourist is the public image of the sexual uninitiated or even maladjusted individual,
the virgin or voyeur, who has never learned to really live (Sofia Ramos. 2007:151).
4.3.2. Forster as a Pioneer Novelist and a Room with a View as a Literary
Transitional Work
E. M. Forster like G. B. Shaw has lived during a transitional period of time in which
many European countries, in general, and England in particular has reached to a more
developed modernized state and to a more settled prosperity in many aspects of life.
67
Like Shaw, Forster had a chance to participate and express his new notions of
modernity, but he has published most of his work after the Victorian period, his works
are published during the Edwardian Age and also after the Edwardian Age. However,
Forster’s reflection and contribution to modern notion is firmly found in his texts:
Beyond what it offers as a discrete set of responses to a range of
early twentieth-century anxieties, Forster’s modernism also
directs us towards a broader conceptualization and understanding
of modernism itself. In particular, it emphasizes the revisionary
projects that lie at the heart of certain versions of modernism.
(Medalie. 2002:1)
Those works that are written and published during the Edwardian Age, are most
concerned about and depicted on some of the remaining of the Victorian outdated values
and social conditions as seen in A Room With a View (1908). During the Edwardian
Age, England has possessed the prosperity in many fields, but there were still some of
artist and literary critics that have been seeking for a more civilized and a better society,
that’s why Forster as well can be considered as one of those pioneer authors and literary
critic whose works are mostly concentrated on the aim of leading society to a better level
of prosperity. Indeed, many critics have shed light on Forsterian inception in his works,
Lauren Goodlad (2006:309) has remarkable asserted that “Forster tends to evoke a
contradictory liberal-humanism, but as a novelist of ethics, he is prescient and original”.
On the other hand, his novel A Room With a View can be considered as a literary
transitional work for its depth of meaning and symbolism as seen in the transformational
development in some characters. In this novel depicts some of outdated tradition that
was still existed in the Edwardian period and throughout his dynamic characters, Forster
has tried to cover up all those traditions and social barriers in such an environment. It is
declared even by Forster’s own words that there is more of contemporary senses inside
him and he comments on how a novelist would work in a modernizing way. He asserts
that “The novelist of the future will have to pass all the new facts through the old if
variable mechanism of the creative mind (Forster. 1927:172). Many critics have been
68
emphasizing on this manner about this work of Forster that it can be perfectly
considered as one of the best transitional works in such a particular period of time. Lucy
for example, is presented in the early beginning of the novel as a kind of refined
Victorian lady through whom she upholds many of those socially idealistic principles,
but as the events go on, Lucy becomes transformed in her personality from a limited and
kind of lost woman into a new modern liberal one. This is portrayed by Forster in a very
beautiful and realistic scale, Forster does this through presenting a new woman in Lucy
after she realizes her true desires and identity. It is believed that progressive
performance of his character is, perhaps, worth to mention that “Forster did succeed in
“writing it down on paper” by employing his characteristic techniques of establishing
place as an extension of character and employing symbol and image to carry themes too
cumbersome for the characters to enact dramatically”(Sullivan. 1976:222).
4.3.2.1. Refined Victorians
In this novel, A Room with a View, Forster presents many characters in different classes
and mindset. Most of these characters are advocating to the concept of ideal Victorian.
The Victorian ideal accordingly seems to be advocating to the Victorian principles and
social boundaries, these characteristics are mostly seen with the Victorian women. For
the woman, to be an ideal woman in society, she should be purely innocent and sexually
ignorant. An ideal or interested woman seems to be aware of everything she treats with
and not to risk in anything for family reputation. This is how they are defined and
classified as the refined Victorians.
One of the refined Victorian characters through whom the restrictive role and
principles are seen is Reverend Cuthbert Eager, who is seems to be advocating to
Victorian ideals. Lucy and Mrs. Bartlett meet him during their picnic to Italy. Mr. Eager
looks really eager most of the times, “he mock-Ruskinian aesthetic eagerness is
described most ridiculously”(Kaoru. 2010:83). Forster presents this character to show
the role of the religion in the Victorian society and to depict any possible positive or
negative impact on individuals. Throughout this character, Forster aims to reveal the
69
probable side affiliations. This character is moreover described in the novel as “quite
unconscious of anything that is outside Baedeker”(RV. 62) because of his continuous
criticizing travelers as “unintelligent tourists”(RV.63). His strict ideas about otherness in
Italy are firmly clear to be advocating to the strong role of church in society in his time.
Hearing Lucy when she tells Miss Lavish that she has come to Italy as a tourist, Mr.
Eager replies:
‘So, Miss Honeychurch, you are travelling? As a student of art”?Oh, dear me, no-oh, no!’
‘Perhaps as a student of human nature,’ interposed Miss Lavish,
‘like myself”?Oh, no. I am here as a tourist.’
‘Oh, indeed,’ said Mr. Eager. ‘Are you indeed? If you will not think
me rude, we residents sometimes pity you poor tourists not a little-handed
about like a parcel of goods from Venice to Florence, from Florence to
Rome, living herded together in pensions or hotels, quite unconscious of
anything that is outside Baedeker, their one anxiety to get ‘done’ or
‘through’ and go on somewhere else. The result is, they mix up towns, rivers,
palaces in one inextricable whirl. You know the American girl in Punch who
says: ‘Say, poppa, what did we see at Rome’? And the father replies: ‘Why,
guess Rome was the place where we saw the yaller dog.’ There’s travelling
for you. Ha! ha! ha!’. (RV.62)
This shows that Forster is intentionally presenting Mr. Eager’s character to underline on
those social taboos. In another scene, he becomes disapproval and disturbed after
realizing that Lucy has been accompanied back to the hotel with another hotel guest, and
she should not be escorted by a stranger. Mr. Eager’s disapproval towards this reaction
relies on the understanding of woman’s limitations in the society that a woman should be
dismissed from the chaste and differentiated in sexes.
Another example of Mr. Eager is that when he escorts Mrs. Bartlett and Lucy to
some of Italian hills, in their way driving in a carriage, it is seen that the drives and
another girl next to him are kissing each other by Mr. Eager’s face. After realizing that
the two are lovers, Mr. Eager doesn’t show his religious principles with the man, but
only with the girl by ordering her to leave the carriage. Also, this can be analyzed as a
70
determination of religion to dismiss the lovers, but at the same time it shows Victorian
idealism on woman’s purity and innocence as Paula Ramos (2007) claims about such
behavior that “Mr. Eager stands for repressive Edwardian sexuality, which is to be
understood as the reason why Lucy fails to come to terms with her love with
George”(222). He dislikes Mr. Emerson because he thinks that Mr. Emerson ‘has
murdered his wife in the sight of God”(RV. 56). This is the case of Mr. Eager, who is
presented to cover up religion’s relation to Victorian values.
Mrs. Bartlett is considered to be another refined character that seems to advocate
Victorian values. Although, she comes to give a chance for love union in the end, which
proves that she is “not withered up all through”(RV.225) Bartlett is Lucy’s older cousin.
The artist Forster presents through this character the picture of the ‘Perfect Lady’ in
Victorian understanding towards women. Mrs. Bartlett is seemed to be too much strict
with social conditions and boundaries, she is always very careful about the way she is
treating and the ways she is treated too for personal reputation among her society. In this
character, Forster aims to depict the characteristics of the ideal woman in Victorian
society who is seen as pure and innocent and dismissed of chastity.
Despite of herself, she is more consciously aware of her cousin Lucy and the way
she acts and shows up in general occasions. Bartlett is always seen as being careful,
especially about the way she and her cousin Lucy dress up, speak, walk, eat and even
about the way they travel. Taking the responsibility of being Lucy’s chaperone, Bartlett
acts so restrictively and sensitively with all situations they face. When she comes to
refusing Mr. Emerson’s offer, she becomes suspicious manner of “narrow-minded and
suspicious”(RV.9). In the beginning scene of the novel when they travel to Italy-
Florence, exactly in Bertolini pension, she is seemed to be angry and very disappointed
after realizing that they don’t give the room (A Room with a View) they have been
promised for.
Through these actions and their reactions the author tried to show the strictness
of the upper-middle class Victorian woman, Bartlett. She tries to pretend herself as a
respectable and proper among others and to deal with all details in everything she is
71
facing. Even in the same scene, Bartlett again is presented in such a strict way in dealing
with the situation when Mr. Emerson offers his room to exchange with Mrs. Bartlett’s
room. A hint from Forster is presented to know more about Miss Bartlett’s behavior
when she “emitted a formal bow”(RV.162) towards the two Emersons “‘ there what
appears to be a polite greeting is in actuality a way of establishing distance. The class of
which Forster writes has mastery of this kind of dishonesty'”(Edward.2002: 16). Here
in this situation, Bartlett refuses the Emerson’s offer complaining that the way he offers
is not appropriate and she as a woman can’t accept such a man’s offer.
Throughout the portrait of this character and her personality, Forster tries to
emphasize on the Victorian ideal woman. Bartlett, a member of the upper class is
clarified in her reaction to Emerson’s offer, she as a respectable Victorian unmarried
woman should not accept the offer from unmarried man or from a lower class. In the
very end of the novel Miss Bartlett in a secret act, in which a contemporary reader can
understand, feels regret of all she upholds concerning the Victorian idealism as Hanna
Rochlitz claims that “Forster’s ‘odious’ but potentially redeemable characters include
Charlotte Bartlett in A Room with a View, who, for all that she tries to prevent Lucy’s
becoming intimate with George, is unexpectedly ‘given one more chance’ of being
instrumental to the true lover’s final union'”(2012:184).
Another more conspicuous character who is an advocate to the ideal of refined
Victorians is Cecil Vyse who is Lucy’s fianc??. He is presented to be described “Like a
Gothic statue”(RV.90) and so strict with his Victorian values and principles. Cecil is “a
distinguished sensitive person, who despises the world and thinks this method [is] a test
of refinement”(Gardener.1973: 110). He belongs to the highest conditions and
outstanding of the upper class and aristocrat family. He is very sensitive and strict with
dealing with social manners. Cecil is an educated person, but he is seen as unable of
supporting himself in reality, and his sensitive notions towards women are firmly
distinguished with and belonging to Victorian idealism.
Cecil’s advocate to the ideal Victorian is seen particularly in his treatment with
Lucy, Forster presents those obstacles that many Victorians have been upholding during
72
the Victorian age. This is clearer in Cecil’s view on woman that advocates the ideal
Victorian concept of women, in which he like Mr. Eager and Mrs. Bartlett thinks that a
woman should be untouched, sexually ignorant and intellectually weak. Cecil is person
“who always felt that he must lead women, though knew not whither, and protect them,
though he knew not against what”(RV.139). The only think he sees on Lucy is that he
believes in his notion about her that she is an adorable, admirable and interested creature
just for marriage, nothing else. Cecil, indeed, only sees Lucy in other thinks, instead of
seeing other beautiful things in her. By this concept, Forster again, tries to emphasize on
man’s conceptual views about woman and about what she really stands for in a Victorian
perspective.
E. M. Forster’s main goal of presenting the character Cecil is to convey the ideal
Victorian man and his convictions towards understanding life in general and in marriage,
in particular. However, Cecil’s confused personality is further illustrated and shown by
passing events in the novel, his love for Lucy becomes more clear that it is not for who
she really, furthermore, it is for her may be upheld in his society as an innocent, pure,
sexually ignorant, and socially accepted and admirable. Furthermore Cecil view of Lucy
obviously becomes clearly evident that he loves what is seen on her by society, not by
what her real personality or true identity may stand for. For instance, when Cecil
compares the Lucy’s beauty to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Or when he suggests his
opinions and views to Lucy for what she should be, how she should act, how she should
dress up, talk or even how she should feel about serious manners in real life, ignoring all
her ideas, opinions and her personality. Moreover, the ambiguity of Cecil’s personality is
rather seen when he tries to kiss Lucy in the “Sacred Lake”(RV.111). Unlike George,
Cecil’s kiss attempt of kissing is “spoilt by his self-consciousness and fear of direct
contact with the female body”(Kaoru. 2010:93). However, because of the many
negative consequences in his personality, critics have claimed that “Cecil’s languor and
indifference’ create the turns of plot and inadvertently send his bride-to-be into the
arms of his unsuspected rival”(Bradshaw.2007:144). Cecil simply stands as a cold73
blooded person that may even disregard his life partner for social talks and standards
which is so reliable of being a refined Victorian.
4.3.2.2. The Edwardians
In this novel, A Room With a View, Forster presents Edwardian characters in a way that
might be analyzed with two images, in one image they may be presented as scandalous
or shameless perspective and in the other way, they may be deeply studied and analyzed
as simple, not believing in class-distinction, “unconventional”(RV.57) liberal humanists
and realistically emotional. These characters do not believe nor apply not even
upholding those characteristics of refined Victorians; they are opposite to that idealism
in all aspects. Edwardian characters look for beauty in every truth and simplicity and
make good of social and cultural interaction. Edwardians are mostly advocate to their
liberal conduct, differing to refined Victorians, they seem to believe in individualism
and freedom of choice, and seek for a life style that they really want, not the style or
outstanding that other people around them are more interested in or strict to some
especial values or principles. Instead of pretending to act in an interested way by
surrounding, they honestly act in the way they really are.
The most significant and considerable Edwardian character presented in this
novel is Mr. Emerson, who stays in the same hotel of Mrs. Bartlett and Lucy live in. His
simplicity and honesty of speech and conduct of manners lead him to be criticized by
Mrs. Bartlett as luck in propriety and not suitable to talk with. Indeed, his honesty is not
made of any luck at all; instead, it is for his liberal and humanist belief in socialism and
individualism. Mr. Emerson is described as someone who “speak the truth”(RV.9), he
doesn’t pretend with any acts of Victorian conducts, even with religion. In pension
Bertolini, for example, the moment he offers his room to exchange with Bartlett’s room
is, although complained as not proper and refused by Bartlett, studied and analyzed by
many critics as an act of human liberty rather than lack in propriety.
The author tried to depict the new mindset of individuals in Edwardian England
through this kind of characters. It is believed that kind of skepticism of religion and in
74
the role of church is rising among people. He is rather described as a socialist (RV.9).
This is exactly presented by Forster through the character of Mr. Emerson. It is stated in
the novel that Mr. Emerson has never baptized his son, George, which means his
progressive transformation for a more modernized understanding as it is seen during the
period of time in Edwardian England.
Mr. Emerson is also presented as a person who believes in individualism and
humane liberty. In some critics’ opinions, Emerson is believed to be a portrait of Forster
himself with conceptions of liberty and individuality, Pau GilabertBarbera claims “what
matters is to perceive in Forster-Emerson the will to take root in the world and its matter,
the will to accept it and enjoy it in its eternal death and resurrection, the will to drive the
tedious and medieval memento mori out of minds and hearts”(2002:19). During most of
his conversations with Lucy, it is seen that Mr. Emerson is always encouraging her to
look for what she really want to do and how she really desired to act rather than
pretending on some outdated conventional beliefs among Victorians. In order to help her
out, Mr. Emerson gives advice and general instructions to Lucy, about the life he tells
her that “‘Life”’is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the
instrument as you go along.’ I think he puts it well. Man has to pick up the use of his
functions as he goes along-especially the function of Love”(RV.216). The reader can
study his personality as a social reformer that is seeking to help others find the true
identity. He probably helps her into a new world of thinking towards life.
Seemingly another important character who is considered as Edwardian is Mr.
Emerson’s son, George, who travels with his father to Italy. George Emerson seems to
be analyzed as an emotional, free, and seeking for true meaning and realistically
romantic character. George and his father offer to exchange their rooms with Lucy and
his cousin’s because they think that such a room is not so important for them since the
two ladies like the view (RV.5). Foster intentionally presents this character with the
sense of emotions in order to convey the search for questioning the meaning of an
individual and his beliefs. George is, in some way, like his father towards religion. He
gets no convincement in religion of what he looks for, George tries more realistically to
75
find out any truth he may want to discover its meaning with logic rather blindly
believing without even questioning.
George Emerson is a true identity seeker that puts his mind with logic and
realistic matters, he treats realistically and emotionally within every situation he faces.
This indicates Forster’s deep interest in putting such ideas and practical thoughts that are
related to Forster himself, David Bradshaw acclaims that “George is very much the kind
of young man Forster invested with glamour: in touch with feelings and nature;
intelligent but unaffected; and from the working class”(2007:11). George believes in
feminism and the right place and position and even her true identity of a woman rather
than putting his own views over her. Unlike Cecil, George sees the true personality in
Lucy and knows perfectly how realistically and liberally to express his love for Lucy not
in an imaginative way.
Forster presents George Emerson as a very intellectual meaning seeker that regards any
consequences after the truth and proving his personality in a liberal way rather than an
aristocratic way in which the view or opinion is forced to be applied. However, George
is seen in a love fight with winning Lucy’s love. With his personal creativity and true
charisma, George wins Lucy by kissing her in a brave way, unlike the lazy acts of Cecil.
This turning occasion becomes deliberately accurate in George’s words in the final
scenes when he explains the difference between his and Cecil’s conception of love and
view on a woman’s identity:
I meet you together, and find him protecting and teaching you’ to be
shocked’ He daren’t let a woman decide. He’s the type who’s kept Europe
back for a thousand years. Every moment of his life, he’s forming you,
telling you what’s charming or amusing or ladylike’ and you, you of all
women, listen to his voice instead of to your own’ But I do love you surely
in a better way than he does’ I want you to have your own thoughts even
when I hold you in my arms. (RV.176-7)
76
For considering George as an Edwardian character, the reader can easily take his speech
and actions that indicates his belonging to Edwardian characters for his respect for
women, true personality and humane liberty.
4.3.2.3. Victorian Edwardians
There are some characters in this novel that are not clearly placed in one specified
mindset, and even for the reader it might be difficult for doing this. This kind of
characters is not completely refined Victorians, neither as refined Edwardians. They are
either seen as progressive characters whose personalities are gradually changing
throughout the event that are presented as transitional event and transformational
characters from the old order of Victorians into the new conceptualism of Edwardian, or
they are seen as believing and upholding Victorian values and sharing Edwardian
beliefs, at the same time, in a weak vision.
One of the characters who are considered to be ranked within this double mindset
can be Mrs. Honeychurch, who is Lucy Honeychurch’s mother. E. M. Forster in an
intellectual scheme presents this character to show the social conditions of those people
who desire to leave those outdated ideals of Victorian Era but because of some social
expectations especially that of family cannot do that. Mrs. Honeychurch is presented as
upholding many of the old Victorian order and she believes in class distinction, as she
believes, “there is a right sort and a wrong sort”(RV.119). Being considered as a member
of a middle – upper class, she takes on some upholding ideas of aristocrat class, which
include the views of women’s inferiority and men’s superiority in an environment.
Indeed, she is one of those upper-middle class members who believe that they are very
professional in social standings and that they are in the highest position in the society
(Mitchell.2009:19). Mrs. Honeychurch’s personal opinion on Cecil Vyse is regarded as a
very noble and respectable man in society and she accepts him being her daughter’s
fianc??, though she has no social background information about him but only for his
wealth and class reputation.
77
This is what exactly Forster tries to convey, it is ironically presented that a Victorian
family has been dealing only with outside appearances for making marriage, instead of
freedom of choice of the girl or from the boy. Taking into consideration, this act of Mrs.
Honeychurch and many others like this can show that she is an advocate to the idea of
the old and outdated values. Another example that shows Mrs. Honeychurch as a
Victorian ideal woman is that when gives her opinion about literary writing when she
tells Mrs. Lavish that writing on literature should be a work of men not of women, as it
has been described by Forster’s commentary words:
Nothing roused Mrs. Honeychurchso much as literature in the hands
of females. She would abandon every topic to inveigh against those women
who’ seek notoriety by print. Her attitude was: ‘If books must be written,
let them be written by men. (RV.146)
This shows her anti-feminist ideas and opinions, she doesn’t want a woman to take too
much responsibility being for her lack of confidence in women’s ability, she wants the
woman to be only an ideal or perfect individual in her society that is a purely innocent,
and sexually and intellectually ignorant.
On the other hand, Forster gives some hints beyond her outside personality that
shows Mrs. Honeychurch’s embracing some hidden Edwardian characteristics (RV.219).
Although she is representative of the old norms of Victorian society, yet she embraces
and is presented simultaneously to be revolting against those old ideals when she
realized that her daughter has refused to marry Cecil. This shows that although she
upholds the old norms of Victorian idealism, she embraces and welcomes the new
modern Edwardian ideas and views in the end.
The last character of this classification is perhaps Lucy Honeychurch, who is
engaged to Cecil Vyse in the beginning of the novel. Indeed, E. M. Forster has presented
Lucy in the early chapters of the novel, A Room with a View, as a Victorian character,
but later on, after passing some significant event, especially after her travel to Italy-
Florence, she starts to change gradually.
78
It is so significant to illustrate Lucy’s personality and character in a more detailed
and evidential events and words. The reader, throughout the continuous rising actions,
can analyze his character accordingly within her own actions and those actions that
occur around her, “she is represented as herself conscious of these unstable boundaries
of the feminine, between life and representation”(Bradshaw.2007: 125). Unlike other
Victorian characters, Lucy is firmly seeking and questions consciously and practically
the search of meaning and true identity.
Forster throughout this character has put some of the most significant artistic
events and ideas to be present. He, in the beginning has tried to present Lucy as a sort of
a lost girl, innocent, sexually and emotionally ignorant, strict, dependent and just like a
Victorian ideal woman trying only to pretend. But after meeting the two Emersons, she
gradually changes, a change in which transitional rising actions are dominantly meant
for Forster’s creation of this character to convey the core of the idea beyond that Room
with a View that Forster, George Emerson and Lucy Honeychurch are seeking for.
For the transitional state of mind, as an example, in the character Lucy, it can be
very significant to that moment when Lucy witnesses the murder event in Italy as the
dominant uprising action in which Lucy becomes closer the nature of reality of life with
its ups and downs. After travelling to Italy, many changes occur in Lucy’s personality,
even in her way of playing on the piano. Mr. Beebe claims that “If Miss Honeychurch
ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting both for us and for her (RV.32).
Moreover, Mahmoud Salami, in an illustrated discourse about the role of music on Lucy,
suggests that ‘Lucy is portrayed as an imprisoned and isolated young suburban girl who,
through her musicality and musical narratives, is able to reject and escape the ‘chaotic
daily life’ of Tunbridge Wells”(2009:147). Also the moment Lucy walks around the
Santa Croce with no Baedeker, this scene again shows the innate, independent soul of
Lucy, she wants to walk around and discover the world by her own support and without
others guidance. Indeed, what is more significant to mention about travelling to Italy is
that the main outcomes inside Lucy has been discovered and realized by her own. This
79
world discovery has, perhaps, “worked some marvel in her. It gave her light, and it gave
her shadow”(RV.92).
Another moment in which Lucy comes to figure out her innate personality and
true identity is that when she is kissed by George Emerson in Italy. In that moment,
although Lucy is perhaps engaged to Cecil, she gets kissed and then she becomes more
curious and eager about what she really wants and who she really is.
Increasingly, after she is kissed by George and advised by Mr. Emerson for acting and
doing what she really wants and what her true desires want rather than what
surroundings prefer her to be or to do, Lucy becomes so impressed by those words. “The
darkness was withdrawn, veil after veil, and she saw to the bottom of her soul”(RV.217).
Until finally she discovers her true identity and her true desires by absolutely most
daring decision, breaking off her engagement to the refined Victorian Cecil and going
for the true love and marrying the emotional and realistic Edwardian George.
4.4. Coming of Modernism in Forster’s A Room with A View
4.4.1. A Room with a View and Rejection to Victorian Outdated Traditions:
4.4.1.1. Anti-Otherness
Otherness or in more simple words to be called as class-distinction is very important. In
A Room with a View, E. M. Forster has presented this Victorian social obstacle in a very
skillful and artistic way, perhaps throughout travelling or interaction between members
of the upper class and middle class. This is seen with some characters, for example,
when they stay in Florence, Italy. In this scene, in a hotel, Mrs. Bartlett and some other
women, who are upholding Victorian idealism towards class distinction, appear to be
insulting Mr. Emerson or not interacting with him for his non proper conduct while
talking as Bartlett states. Indeed, Forster doesn’t present Italy just for travelling,
“Instead, Italy functions as an occasion for getting beyond ‘the muddle’ of English social
convention and traditional cultural values. It is a site for identifying what it might really
80
mean ‘to live'”(Bradshaw. 2007:71). However, it is not because of that excuse, but
rather it is because Mr. Emerson is not an upper class member in society. He is simply
honest in every situation.
Forster breaks off this “right sort and a wrong sort”(RV.119) distinction between
classes throughout Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson’s progressive events. During
the events that are going around Lucy and Emerson, some incidents occur to be against
class distinction, or in other word, to live in a harmonious environment. It is clear that
George belongs to the middle class and that Lucy to the upper class, but what Forster is
conflicting and struggling here is by making them fall in love and break all the social
barriers, conditions and expectations. Lucy refuses Cecil’s weak love because “He
daren’t let a woman decide. He’s the type who’s kept Europe back for a thousand
years”(RV.176) and she realizes what true love mean, which is “of the body; not the
body, but of the body”(RV.217) and independent decision making is, which leads her to
fall in George’s love and marry him in spite of his inferior social condition and position
from Cecil.
As mentioned before, the gaze on the conception of travelling is not only
presented as a mean for tourism. Indeed, it gives more than what it may appear for the
first glimpse of the reader. With a keen observation, it can be found that Forster would
emphasize on one’s individual discovery of identity through his/her third eye, which is
the eye of tourism. Tourism, indeed, has a great impact on Forster as a thinker and as an
author. During his travel to Italy, Forster has seen many things in English tourists in
Italy, as Ramos declares that “Italy stirred his [Forster’s] imagination, bolstered his
confidence and gave him his literary vision, together with plenty of material for his
fiction”((2007:141). For the feelings and transcendental emotions, Forster has presented
Italy as a place of truth and beauty in art and human nature where all probable
possibilities of life are expected, perhaps, with its ups and down as it is seen with many
characters in the novel. In this concern, Kaoru Urano has explained the positive impacts
of tourism on individuals in his words:
81
When we are abroad, we see the culture there in the state of
being filtered through the knowledge that we have already learnt
from our domestic culture’ what is present to our eye is always
a ‘representation’ of the foreign culture in question; this
sensation paradoxically creates the concept of its ‘unmediated
reality’ hidden beneath the surface. Therefore, it can be said that
the tourist gaze is a particular mode of seeing which is avidly
seeking knowledge exactly because it is always already
distantiated from it. (2010:75)
This is what the contemporary Edwardian Forster tends to convey through his literary
work. However, Forster succeeds in doing so, he achieves a harmonic combination
between the two classes away from any possible social barriers and probable
expectations from others, which is, again, a transformed creation of a social classless
environment in a transitional period of Edwardian Era towards modernism.
4.4.2. Conflict and Struggles in A Room with A View:
4.4.2.1. Survival of the Liberal Humanist
A Room with a View can be illustrated and demonstrated within many conflicts and
struggles through the characters and their event in the novel. Forster artificially has been
depicting some controversial social concepts that have been existent in Edwardian Era
that were still advocating to Victorian idealism. “As Forster is well known for being a
liberal humanist, any discussion of his politics is bound to include this long-life
tradition”(Shaheen. 2004:7), and here, the novelist tries to demonstrate some norm and
obstacles that many people have been facing either desirable or not like the conflicts
between medieval or middle age norms in a social environment such as strictness of
idealism and those of new modern norms of life style such as liberal humanism.
This notion is presented and analyzed in many characters throughout the novel.
With a figurative analysis of these characters, the contemporary reader can figure out
those conflicts and struggles that are going on from the beginning of the play until its
final chapter. Lucy Honeychurch, for example, whom Emerson tells her “you are
repeating what you have heard older people say. You are pretending to be touchy; but
82
you are not really”(RV.23), can be analyzed as the protagonist of the story through
whom almost all events are going around her, is in a highest state of struggling those
conflicts. In spite her belonging to the upper class, by passing some dominant events,
she comes to question about her true identity and social position as an individual or
simply as a woman. As Lucy meets Mr. Emerson and his son George, she becomes more
conspicuous about those strict values she upholds and more curious to know about the
new ideas about humane liberty which she comes across by the Emersons.
Indeed, the two Emersons do not believe in the old conceptual norms of
Victorians, and they rather belief and uphold the new modern Edwardian ideals and
search for the true meaning of being instead of just going with it.
Lucy Honeychurch, unlike other Victorian characters like Miss Bartlett or Mr. Eager, is
presented as a mentally rebel that seeks for the search of meaning of being an individual
and one’s own identity. She stands as the representative of the new woman that struggles
all probable conflict within herself against the social expectations and strict idealism.
The new perspectives have helped Lucy to see the world as she loves, ‘It gave Lucy the
sensation of a fog, and when she reached her own room, she opened the window and
breathed the clean night air’ [It] enabled her to see the lights dancing'”(RV.14). It is
more evidently proved by Forster’s own view as described in these words:
It was pleasant to’ open the eyes upon a bright bare room, with a floor of
red tiles which look clean though they are not; with a painted ceiling
whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and
bassoons. (RV.15)
Lucy’s decision of breaking off her engagement with Cecil Vyse and then marrying
George Emerson can be the most daring achievement of an individual, ignoring all her
social boundaries, expectations and limitations. She finds her own identity as an
individual adventurous meaning seeker until she wins her liberty and survives over the
medieval and Middle Ages’ understandings towards one’s limitations and identity.
83
4.4.2.2. Failure of the Victorian Idealist
The rising evidential response of Lucy, “You don’t know what the word [democracy]
means” to Cecil’s statement “I believe in democracy”(RV.123) is, perhaps, underlined to
be the fall down action of the failure of the outdated Cecil. During those most significant
evidential events have been present, Forster, in the end of the novel, covers up the story
conflicts in his own unique style of conveying the message. He has shown the effect of
the liberal humanism of Victorian idealism in a very emotional and sensational truth and
beauty. Lucy has been finally transformed to “a different person: new thoughts-even a
new voice”(RV.184). Her perspectives fell into a welcoming way for new modern norms
of understanding, while Bartlett, Cecil and accept the truth of his loss and failure of
upholding those ideal thoughts and beliefs in a confessional words ‘It is True’ True,
every word. It is a revelation. It is’ [am] The sort that can know no one intimately.’ It
is true. I fell to pieces the very first day we were engaged. I behaved like a cad to Beebe
and to your brother. You are even greater than I thought (RV.183).
Cecil, for example, after Lucy tells him that she doesn’t want to marry him and
that he doesn’t really love her, but only as a social condition instead, then realizes his
true personality and thanks Lucy for honestly telling this to him. Cecil then accepts the
truth and takes his side alone.
Obviously, Forster is consciously aware of this state of failure in these characters and the
intention is, of course, ironically conveying the aim of a literary work and its impact and
depiction of real life of an environment, and the struggling, conflict seen in characters in
which the Edwardian characters step up over the Victorian characters in a very
transitional state of mind.
4.5. Forster’s Language and The Use of Figurative Elements
In this subsection, the most important l??terary elements related to f??gures of speech taken
from the play w??ll be demonstrated and semant??cally analyzed. Semant??c elements l??ke
symbols, mot??fs, metaphors, s??m??les, ??rony, and imagery w??ll be illustrated from some
84
??mportant speech by characters’ conversat??ons and from some figurative occas??ons
w??th??n the novel A Room w??th a V??ew.
L??ke Shaw’s Arms and the Man th??s novel as well has many s??gn??f??cant l??terary f??gure
including the t??tle. At the beginning of the novel, our heroine is distraught by a
particularly bad hotel room in Florence. The motif of rooms and views recurs throughout
the novel. For Forster, a room stands for civilization and all its confinements; a view
stands for nature, freedom, and the open air. A room with a view means a life that is free
and open to adventure and possibility, one that is not too closely confined by the
strictures of society. Lucy Honeychurch longs for a room with a view of the ArnoRiver,
but instead, her room looks into the hotel’s courtyard. Though she eventually gets her
room with a view at the hotel, the rest of the novel is concerned with her quest for a
metaphorical room with a view. It can either reveal a mundane and predictable world, or
it can look out to a romantic, exciting, and constantly changing landscape. The latter is
the ‘view’ of life that Lucy longs for. The question is, will she ever find it?
Lucy (RV: 86) who, with her “warped” brain, is “caught in the tangle” (RV: 213-224),
can’t “disentangle” her emotions (RV: 68-94), ends conversations in “a wrangle” (RV:
215), and gives “a nervous little bow” when she first meets the Emersons (RV: 27).
Later on, when she sees the nearly naked figure of George, radiant against the woods,
Lucy yields to the demands of Cecil’s propriety: “‘Bow, Lucy; better bow.’ . . . Miss
Honeychurch bowed” (RV: 152). She introduces “winding intricacies” into Beethoven,
who is usually “so simple and direct” (51), and in a scene that tells us almost all we need
to know about her, she shakes hands with Cecil with one hand while “twisting up her
other hand in the curtains” (RV: 193). Mr. Beebe (even his name turns back on itself)
expresses admiration for the way she has been able to “wind herself up to speak” (RV:
203), and thinks of her as a kite in the “wind” (RV: 112). Miss Bartlett with her rings
yesterday had been a muddle . . . the kind of thing one could not write down easily on
paper. . . [Lucy] thought not so much of what had happened as of how she should
describe it. . . But . . . her words fell short of life (RV: 68-94-229).
85
A Room with a View invites the same question that Charlotte Bartlett asks when she
sees George Emerson’s “enormous note of interrogation”: “What does it mean?” (RV:
43). The reply might be that Forster’s novel is “about” such matters as love, art, selfrealization,
Edwardian manners, feminism, values and their revision, exposure and
concealment, completion and interruption, daily life and celestial life, the subconscious
mind, language, myth – and so on. These and other concerns point to an enticing variety
of well-tried critical perspectives.
Forster also uses Italy as a very mean??ngful l??terary f??gure to convey h??s message to the
readers. Italy, for the English tourist of Edwardian times, was a wild and romantic place,
dirty and chaotic, uncivilized and exciting. In the words of Miss Lavish, ‘One doesn’t
come to Italy for niceness’one comes for life’ (RV: 17). Italy is a place where anything
can happen. Lucy wanders the streets alone, witnesses a murder, is kissed on a hillside,
and even falls in love’although she doesn’t realize it at first. Italy is also an escape
from the rigid class structure of home’a place where, Lucy feels, ‘social barriers were .
. . not particularly high. You jump over them just as you jump into a peasant’s olive-yard
in the Apennines, and he is glad to see you’ (RV: 116). Her experience in Italy changes
Lucy, giving her new eyes for the world, and a view of her own soul.
Forster associates the Classical, the Medieval, and the Renaissance Eras of European
history with various characters and attitudes in his novel. The uptight Cecil is squarely in
the Medieval Age with its oppressive religion and feudal social barriers. He is ‘a Gothic
statue . . . resembl[ing] those fastidious saints who guard the portals of a French
cathedral’ (RV: 90). Lucy and George, however, belong in the Classical or Renaissance
era of humanism and art. Lucy is referred to as ‘Leonardesque’ (RV: 125) and George
as ‘Michelangelesque’ (RV: 136). The Italian driver who brings Lucy and George
together on the hillside is likened to Phaethon, a figure from Classical mythology. Lucy
goes on a journey from the Classical to the Medieval and into the Renaissance, traveling
from pagan innocence to Medieval repression and into enlightenment at the end of the
novel.
86
Music is used to represent Lucy’s internal states at various points in the novel. When she
plays Beethoven at the Pension Bertolini, she is triumphant and passionate, causing Mr.
Beebe to see a heroic quality in her that at that point had still not been expressed in her
everyday life. Beethoven represents Lucy’s quest for adventure, for more exciting
experiences which she hopes to discover in Italy. While in London, however, well on her
way to an unhappy life with Cecil, she chooses a sad and broken melody by Schumann,
music that Cecil later judges to have been perfect for the occasion.
‘Muddle’ is the word used throughout the novel to describe Lucy’s mental state. Lucy is
young and still trying to work out what she really thinks and feels about the world
around her. Th??s s??gn??f??cant f??gure and all other f??gures ment??oned ??n th??s subsect??on are
used by the author to g??ve all the metaphors, allus??ons, s??m??les and so on ??n a very
semant??c way.
In this chapter the plan have been demonstrated with Forster’s novel A Room with a
View, in which the continuous progress of transition from Victorian Idealism is covered
up, but towards Liberal Humanism rather than only Social Realism. In the first section
of this chapter, a short biography of the author E. M. Forster and some background
information about his famous works have been introduced. Then, in the later sections,
the core of the study is presented; it starts with the transitional traits that Forster has used
in his novel which is written during the Edwardian period. Finally, the chapter has
demonstrated more details to discover the traits that hint to the roots of the rise of
modern literature that Forster has used in his novel.ur text in here…

Source: Essay UK - http://xbmm43.com/essays/english-literature/essay-biography-of-g-b-shaw/


Not what you're looking for?

Search our thousands of essays:

Search:


About this resource

This English Literature essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.



Word count:

This page has approximately words.


Share:


Cite:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay UK, Essay: Biography of G. B. Shaw. Available from: <http://xbmm43.com/essays/english-literature/essay-biography-of-g-b-shaw/> [17-02-19].


More information:

If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal:


Essay and dissertation help


Latest essays in this category:


Our free essays:

badges