Shaw's Drama and Marxian Socialism

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CHAPTER 1
Karl Marx and G.B. Shaw: Shaw’s Drama and Marxian Socialism

The Communist Manifesto, was written by Karl Marx (who was a philosopher and revolutionary) along with Friedrich Engels. It was a booklet that provided principles for the Euro-socialists and communists during the 19th and 20th century. He was the great philosopher who propounded the theory of scientific socialism, better termed as modern communism. Since his theories and philosophies became very famous with people around I would consider him to be one of the most influential thinkers of all time. Karl Marx (1818-83) began with the study of Hegelian dialectic at the university in Berlin and Bonn. But he gave a new direction to socio-political thought and because of this he may be considered as the “father of Communism”. It was the first organised and systematic proposition of modern socialism, which contained the materialistic aspect of the history or in other words historical materialism. The Manifesto states it is economic system, which generates the necessities of life and livelihood, that determines class stratification and non-equitable distribution of resources in the society. And it is this very economic system that further impacts the political and intellectual history of that age. It is the strife and tussle between the exploited ,the working class and exploiting ,the bourgeoisie , or the ruling and oppressed social classes that create that ‘history’ of the age. Based upon these principles of his philosophy Marx brings home the inference or rather conclusion that only the working class can initiate a revolution and over throw the ‘high browed’ bourgeoisie or the capitalist, who exploit them. And this revolution would someday create a classless society where everyone is equal and there is no hierarchical set up and for certainty no human being will ever show supremacy upon any other human being in any aspect. Marx’s philosophy of condemnation of materialism is termed as ‘dialectical materialism’. His philosophy is based on atheism and no place is given to the soul and the spirit of human being, rather there is genuine belief in human calibre than in theological and supernatural aspects which according to him it blindfolds an individual’s intellectual capability. Religion is like opium to the masses than clouds their rationality and binds them with material reality of the world. These beliefs of Karl Marx had deeply influenced the society of 20th century, which was a society that has suffered utterly at the cost of capitalist system. His theory reflects great aversion against the capitalists, who hoard all the wealth and power in the society and use competence and laboriousness of the working class to their benefits, and would be least concerned about the welfare of the working class and exploit them continuously just as a mule is used lament less by its owner for transporting heavy loads of burden. Accordingly, this possession of power with a few elite in the society widens the gulf between the poor, ‘forsaken’ people and the rich, ‘deserving’ people and weakens the very foundations of the strongest of nations. Thus, Marxian theory that proletariat should not be undermined and suppressed rather he should enjoy equal status as any other human being. Many eminent playwrights and outstanding literates were deeply influenced by materialistic concept put forward by Karl Marx. Amongst them was George Bernard one of the greatest playwrights of English Literature in modern age. Shaw’s realization of economic and social difficulties directed him to be a part of Henry Hyndman Social Democratic Federation. It was a socialist group comprising predominantly the forsaken and working-class men, here he being men of words spoke with great enthusiasm and zeal but could not influence the audience with his Marxist ideas for he knew very little about socialism or economics for that matter. He bitterly criticized for this and was told that he had no...
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