Androcles and the Lion
Encyclopedia Britannica says this about the play: 'a drama consisting of a prologue and two acts by George Bernard Shaw, performed in Berlin in 1912 and published in 1916. Using the Roman story of Androcles, Shaw examines true and false religious exaltation, combining the traditions of miracle play and Christmas pantomime into a philosophical farce about early Christianity. The play’s central theme, recurrent in Shaw, is that one must have something worth dying for—an end outside oneself—to make life worth living. I am happy to find this early copy, even though it is not a first edition. As I wrote earlier of a Penguin edition, I am delighted at last to have the opportunity to read the play. (The book contains some one hundred pages of stuff--mini-essays?--before the play starts, and a few pages of explanation after it.) Androcles is a Christian Greek tailor, known for his sorcery with animals, whom he loves dearly. He exists within a strong cast of characters including his wife Megaera, a rather handsome pampered slattern; Ferrovius, the fierce fighter; Lavinia, the beautiful, forthright, sometimes doubting believer; the Roman Captain; and the Emperor. As Shaw constructs it, the play becomes an examination of allegiances and motives around the question of imperialism. Here, as in the Penguin edition, Shaw writes here without apostrophes in his contractions.
Constable and Company