Friday, August 26, 2011

Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw

Androcles and the Lion by George Bernard Shaw (1912)

An Aesop's Fable Brought to the Stage

George Bernard Shaw (1856 to 1950-Ireland) is most known now as the author of the play, Pygmalion, on which the movie My Fair Lady was based.

He won the Nobel Prize in 1925 and an Oscar in 1938, the only person to have done both.   He was a tremendously productive writer with more than 60 dramas and countless articles and essays.   He was also very active in social causes.    

The story line of Androcles and the Lion is considered to have been one of Aesop's fables.    I think almost everyone knows the basic plot.   There has been a movie based on it and I have seen it in cartoons.   Androcles, a Christian, comes upon a lion in the wilderness and pulls a thorn out of his foot.   Androcles is sent by the Romans to the Colosseum to be killed by a lion, etc.  

Shaw does a great job filling out details in the story.   We meet his wife and we kind of like her but she is a real person for sure.   We see the attitudes of the Romans toward the Christians.   There are some very good conversations about religion between the Roman guards and the condemned Christians.   All a Christian has to do to escape the lions is to swear he believes in the Roman gods.   A Roman officer tries to explain to Androcles and his wife that even he does not belief in the gods, it is just a formality so why not swear.   

The play is interesting and an enjoyable read.   I liked the stage descriptions a really lot.   The play is pushing Shaw's social agenda but it is entertainment first.    

I read this at   As a drama I think it could be preformed in well under two hours.   It is not a heavy read or at all abrasive.    

I think most people will enjoy this play and be glad they read it.   It is not one of Shaw's major works and did not change the history of drama or anything like that but it is very well written with some great conversations and the characters seem real to me.

The next drama I will read will be Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett probably to be followed by The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.

Mel u


  1. I reviewed this fable a while ago for Carl V.'s reading challenge. Interesting idea, to read it in play form.

  2. Suko-it was a fun read -would be a good first Shaw-thanks as always for your visit and comment


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