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Comparing Characters In Major Barbara And Pygmalion

638 words - 3 pages

Comparing Characters in Major Barbara and Pygmalion

   Andrew Undershaft and Alfred Doolittle, two characters from Bernard Shaw's plays Major Barbara and Pygmalion, have a similar nature but strikingly different views of morality and poverty. Undershaft is an "unashamed" capitalist, and nothing clouds his view of his business plans. Doolittle is a man who would much rather have a life of poverty than be troubled with the responsibility of being well-off. Although their perspectives differ, they both live for themselves.


The most apparent difference between Undershaft and Doolittle is the way in which they handle their own immorality. Undershaft is not only unashamed but also preaches to others about the values of immorality. He is completely unrepentant and is a better business man for it. Also, he believes that no one does good deeds unselfishly. Due to this cynical certainty, Undershaft feels no remorse for doing good things for bad reasons. Doolittle, however, acknowledges that he behaves immorally. Doolittle is not ashamed of himself either, but merely states that it is his nature to be "undeserving." His only excuse is that in his social position he cannot afford morals.


Another large difference between those two men is their stances on poverty. To Undershaft, poverty is the greatest sin of man. Having been poor in his youth, he looks at this as the worst thing that can happen to a person and believes that all men fear poverty above everything else. In contrast, Doolittle cannot see a distinct difference between the rich and the poor. He has learned that "it's a dog's life any way you look at it" because he has been poor his entire life. He does not become any happier when he acquires a job as a lecturer and joins the middle class. In fact, he resents having to begin living for others rather than just for himself. He feels as though he has lost his freedom while Undershaft believes men can only be free if...

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