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Don Juan in Hell by George Bernard Shaw
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Don Juan in Hell

by George Bernard Shaw

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This play is actually a part of the longer drama, "Man and Superman". I found it a bit heavy going, being concerned with metaphysical and philosophical questions but Bob Neufeld's narration was well done and gained an extra ½ star for my rating. I will have to mull over some of Shaw's ideas but here are a few quotes which caught my attention:

DON JUAN. Patience, lady: you will be perfectly happy and at home here. As saith the poet, "Hell is a city much like Seville."
THE OLD WOMAN. Happy! here! where I am nothing! where I am nobody!
DON JUAN. Not at all: you are a lady; and wherever ladies are is hell. Do not be surprised or terrified: you will find everything here that a lady can desire, including devils who will serve you from sheer love of servitude, and magnify your importance for the sake of dignifying their service—the best of servants.
THE OLD WOMAN. My servants will be devils!
DON JUAN. Have you ever had servants who were not devils?
THE OLD WOMAN. Never: they were devils, perfect devils, all of them. But that is only a manner of speaking. I thought you meant that my servants here would be real devils.
DON JUAN. No more real devils than you will be a real lady. Nothing is real here. That is the horror of damnation.
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THE DEVIL. [gallantly] Ah, Senora, do not be anxious. You come to us from earth, full of the prejudices and terrors of that priest-ridden place. You have heard me ill spoken of; and yet, believe me, I have hosts of friends there.
ANA. Yes: you reign in their hearts.
THE DEVIL. [shaking his head] You flatter me, Senora; but you are mistaken. It is true that the world cannot get on without me; but it never gives me credit for that: in its heart it mistrusts and hates me. Its sympathies are all with misery, with poverty, with starvation of the body and of the heart. I call on it to sympathize with joy, with love, with happiness, with beauty.
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ANA. I daresay you all want to marry lovely incarnations of music and painting and poetry. Well, you can't have them, because they don't exist. If flesh and blood is not good enough for you you must go without: that's all. Women have to put up with flesh-and-blood husbands—and little enough of that too, sometimes; and you will have to put up with flesh-and-blood wives. The Devil looks dubious. The Statue makes a wry face. I see you don't like that, any of you; but it's true, for all that; so if you don't like it you can lump it.
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Granted that the great Life Force has hit on the device of the clockmaker's pendulum, and uses the earth for its bob; that the history of each oscillation, which seems so novel to us the actors, is but the history of the last oscillation repeated; nay more, that in the unthinkable infinitude of time the sun throws off the earth and catches it again a thousand times as a circus rider throws up a ball, and that the total of all our epochs is but the moment between the toss and the catch, has the colossal mechanism no purpose?
THE DEVIL. None, my friend. You think, because you have a purpose, Nature must have one. You might as well expect it to have fingers and toes because you have them.
( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 9, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486448452, Paperback)

A dream sequence from the 3rd act of Man and Superman, "Don Juan in Hell" forms a play within the play, consisting of a dramatic reading by 3 characters from the main play in archetypal guises. The Devil himself joins their spirited debate regarding heaven and hell, of good and evil, and of human purpose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:01 -0400)

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