George Bernard Shaw: The Devil's Disciple (2105 words)


Like several of Shaw's early plays, The Devil's Disciple – first produced in 1897 and published in his collection Three Plays for Puritans in 1901 – takes an existing popular theatrical form, in this case melodrama, and adapts it to serve Shaw's dramatic purposes. In the preface to Three Plays for Puritans he writes: “It does not contain a single even passably novel incident. Every old patron of the Adelphi [a theatre which specialized in melodrama] pit would […] recognize the reading of the will, the oppressed orphan finding a protector, the arrest, the heroic sacrifice, the court martial, the scaffold, the reprieve at the last moment, as he recognizes beefsteak pudding on the bill of fare at his restaurant.…

Citation: Newton, Ken. "The Devil's Disciple". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 January 2003 [, accessed 16 June 2021.]

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