ABSTRACT

This article began as “From Caesar to Joan: Shaw's Epic Hero with a Dozen Faces.” Then the author decided to add another character: Bluntschli of Arms and the Man since Bluntschli was a version of Aeneas in the play the title of which was taken from the opening of Virgil's Aeneid. That Shaw had epic in mind is confirmed by this title and by his very apparent use of Virgilian echoes, especially in the first act. This early play provides a clear view of Shaw assembling the characteristics of an epic, while doing his educating variations, very craftily. This article treats Act I as the first stage, the Literal stage, of a four-stage approach that it takes from Dante's reading of scripture. At this time, it deals only with the first three stages. The article moves from the Literal How to the Why of the Tropecal (sic) level, then to the Moral level. (It leaves the fourth level, the Anagogical, for a later article.)

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