List Of Contents | Contents of Man and Superman, by Bernard Shaw
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disparaged and avoided me.

DON JUAN. I have treated you with perfect courtesy.

THE DEVIL. Courtesy! What is courtesy? I care nothing for mere
courtesy. Give me warmth of heart, true sincerity, the bond of
sympathy with love and joy--

DON JUAN. You are making me ill.

THE DEVIL. There! [Appealing to the statue] You hear, sir! Oh, by
what irony of fate was this cold selfish egotist sent to my
kingdom, and you taken to the icy mansions of the sky!

THE STATUE. I can't complain. I was a hypocrite; and it served me
right to be sent to heaven.

THE DEVIL. Why, sir, do you not join us, and leave a sphere for
which your temperament is too sympathetic, your heart too warm,
your capacity for enjoyment too generous?

THE STATUE. I have this day resolved to do so. In future,
excellent Son of the Morning, I am yours. I have left Heaven for

THE DEVIL. [again grasping his hand] Ah, what an honor for me!
What a triumph for our cause! Thank you, thank you. And now, my
friend--I may call you so at last--could you not persuade HIM
to take the place you have left vacant above?

THE STATUE. [shaking his head] I cannot conscientiously recommend
anybody with whom I am on friendly terms to deliberately make
himself dull and uncomfortable.

THE DEVIL. Of course not; but are you sure HE would be
uncomfortable? Of course you know best: you brought him here
originally; and we had the greatest hopes of him. His sentiments
were in the best taste of our best people. You remember how he
sang? [He begins to sing in a nasal operatic baritone, tremulous
from an eternity of misuse in the French manner].

      Vivan le femmine!
      Viva il buon vino!

THE STATUE. [taking up the tune an octave higher in his counter

      Sostegno a gloria

THE DEVIL. Precisely. Well, he never sings for us now.

DON JUAN. Do you complain of that? Hell is full of musical
amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned. May not one lost
soul be permitted to abstain?

THE DEVIL. You dare blaspheme against the sublimest of the arts!

DON JUAN. [with cold disgust] You talk like a hysterical woman
fawning on a fiddler.

THE DEVIL. I am not angry. I merely pity you. You have no soul;
and you are unconscious of all that you lose. Now you, Senor
Commander, are a born musician. How well you sing! Mozart would
be delighted if he were still here; but he moped and went to
heaven. Curious how these clever men, whom you would have
supposed born to be popular here, have turned out social
failures, like Don Juan!

DON JUAN. I am really very sorry to be a social failure.

THE DEVIL. Not that we don't admire your intellect, you know. We
do. But I look at the matter from your own point of view. You
don't get on with us. The place doesn't suit you. The truth is,
you have--I won't say no heart; for we know that beneath all your
affected cynicism you have a warm one.

DON JUAN. [shrinking] Don't, please don't.

THE DEVIL. [nettled] Well, you've no capacity for enjoyment. Will
that satisfy you?

DON JUAN. It is a somewhat less insufferable form of cant than
the other. But if you'll allow me, I'll take refuge, as usual, in

THE DEVIL. Why not take refuge in Heaven? That's the proper place
for you. [To Ana] Come, Senora! could you not persuade him for
his own good to try a change of air?

ANA. But can he go to Heaven if he wants to?

THE DEVIL. What's to prevent him?

ANA. Can anybody--can I go to Heaven if I want to?

THE DEVIL. [rather contemptuously] Certainly, if your taste lies
that way.

ANA. But why doesn't everybody go to Heaven, then?

THE STATUE. [chuckling] I can tell you that, my dear. It's
because heaven is the most angelically dull place in all
creation: that's why.

THE DEVIL. His excellency the Commander puts it with military
bluntness; but the strain of living in Heaven is intolerable.
There is a notion that I was turned out of it; but as a matter of
fact nothing could have induced me to stay there. I simply left
it and organized this place.

THE STATUE. I don't wonder at it. Nobody could stand an eternity
of heaven.

THE DEVIL. Oh, it suits some people. Let us be just, Commander:
it is a question of temperament. I don't admire the heavenly
temperament: I don't understand it: I don't know that I
particularly want to understand it; but it takes all sorts to
make a universe. There is no accounting for tastes: there are
people who like it. I think Don Juan would like it.

DON JUAN. But--pardon my frankness--could you really go back
there if you desired to; or are the grapes sour?

THE DEVIL. Back there! I often go back there. Have you never read
the book of Job? Have you any canonical authority for assuming
that there is any barrier between our circle and the other one?

ANA. But surely there is a great gulf fixed.

THE DEVIL. Dear lady: a parable must not be taken literally. The
gulf is the difference between the angelic and the diabolic
temperament. What more impassable gulf could you have? Think of
what you have seen on earth. There is no physical gulf between
the philosopher's class room and the bull ring; but the bull
fighters do not come to the class room for all that. Have you
ever been in the country where I have the largest following--
England? There they have great racecourses, and also concert
rooms where they play the classical compositions of his
Excellency's friend Mozart. Those who go to the racecourses can
stay away from them and go to the classical concerts instead if
they like: there is no law against it; for Englishmen never will
be slaves: they are free to do whatever the Government and public
opinion allows them to do. And the classical concert is admitted
to be a higher, more cultivated, poetic, intellectual, ennobling
place than the racecourse. But do the lovers of racing desert
their sport and flock to the concert room? Not they. They would
suffer there all the weariness the Commander has suffered in
heaven. There is the great gulf of the parable between the two
places. A mere physical gulf they could bridge; or at least I
could bridge it for them (the earth is full of Devil's Bridges);
but the gulf of dislike is impassable and eternal. And that is
the only gulf that separates my friends here from those who are
invidiously called the blest.

ANA. I shall go to heaven at once.

THE STATUE. My child; one word of warning first. Let me complete
my friend Lucifer's similitude of the classical concert. At every
one of those concerts in England you will find rows of weary
people who are there, not because they really like classical
music, but because they think they ought to like it. Well, there
is the same thing in heaven. A number of people sit there in
glory, not because they are happy, but because they think they
owe it to their position to be in heaven. They are almost all

THE DEVIL. Yes: the Southerners give it up and join me just as
you have done. But the English really do not seem to know when
they are thoroughly miserable. An Englishman thinks he is moral
when he is only uncomfortable.

THE STATUE. In short, my daughter, if you go to Heaven without
being naturally qualified for it, you will not enjoy yourself

ANA. And who dares say that I am not naturally qualified for it?
The most distinguished princes of the Church have never
questioned it. I owe it to myself to leave this place at once.

THE DEVIL. [offended] As you please, Senora. I should have
expected better taste from you.

ANA. Father: I shall expect you to come with me. You cannot stay
here. What will people say?

THE STATUE. People! Why, the best people are here--princes of the
church and all. So few go to Heaven, and so many come here, that
the blest, once called a heavenly host, are a continually
dwindling minority. The saints, the fathers, the elect of long
ago are the cranks, the faddists, the outsiders of to-day.

THE DEVIL. It is true. From the beginning of my career I knew
that I should win in the long run by sheer weight of public
opinion, in spite of the long campaign of misrepresentation and
calumny against me. At bottom the universe is a constitutional
one; and with such a majority as mine I cannot be kept
permanently out of office.

DON JUAN. I think, Ana, you had better stay here.

ANA. [jealously] You do not want me to go with you.

DON JUAN. Surely you do not want to enter Heaven in the company
of a reprobate like me.

ANA. All souls are equally precious. You repent, do you not?

DON JUAN. My dear Ana, you are silly. Do you suppose heaven is
like earth, where people persuade themselves that what is done
can be undone by repentance; that what is spoken can be unspoken
by withdrawing it; that what is true can be annihilated by a
general agreement to give it the lie? No: heaven is the home of
the masters of reality: that is why I am going thither.

ANA. Thank you: I am going to heaven for happiness. I have had
quite enough of reality on earth.

DON JUAN. Then you must stay here; for hell is the home of the
unreal and of the seekers for happiness. It is the only refuge
from heaven, which is, as I tell you, the home of the masters of
reality, and from earth, which is the home of the slaves of
reality. The earth is a nursery in which men and women play at
being heros and heroines, saints and sinners; but they are
dragged down from their fool's paradise by their bodies: hunger
and cold and thirst, age and decay and disease, death above all,
make them slaves of reality: thrice a day meals must be eaten
and digested: thrice a century a new generation must be
engendered: ages of faith, of romance, and of science are all
driven at last to have but one prayer " Make me a healthy
animal." But here you escape the tyranny of the flesh; for here
you are not an animal at all: you are a ghost, an appearance, an
illusion, a convention, deathless, ageless: in a word, bodiless.
There are no social questions here, no political questions, no
religious questions, best of all, perhaps, no sanitary questions.
Here you call your appearance beauty, your emotions love, your
sentiments heroism, your aspirations virtue, just as you did on
earth; but here there are no hard facts to contradict you, no
ironic contrast of your needs with your pretensions, no human
comedy, nothing but a perpetual romance, a universal melodrama.
As our German friend put it in his poem, "the poetically
nonsensical here is good sense; and the Eternal Feminine draws us
ever upward and on"--without getting us a step farther. And yet
you want to leave this paradise!

ANA. But if Hell be so beautiful as this, how glorious must
heaven be!

The Devil, the Statue, and Don Juan all begin to speak at once in
violent protest; then stop, abashed.

DON JUAN. I beg your pardon.

THE DEVIL. Not at all. I interrupted you.

THE STATUE. You were going to say something.

DON JUAN. After you, gentlemen.

THE DEVIL. [to Don Juan] You have been so eloquent on the
advantages of my dominions that I leave you to do equal justice
to the drawbacks of the alternative establishment.

DON JUAN. In Heaven, as I picture it, dear lady, you live and
work instead of playing and pretending. You face things as they
are; you escape nothing but glamor; and your steadfastness and
your peril are your glory. If the play still goes on here and on
earth, and all the world is a stage, Heaven is at least behind
the scenes. But Heaven cannot be described by metaphor. Thither I
shall go presently, because there I hope to escape at last from
lies and from the tedious, vulgar pursuit of happiness, to spend
my eons in contemplation--


DON JUAN. Senor Commander: I do not blame your disgust: a picture
gallery is a dull place for a blind man. But even as you enjoy
the contemplation of such romantic mirages as beauty and
pleasure; so would I enjoy the contemplation of that which
interests me above all things namely, Life: the force that ever
strives to attain greater power of contemplating itself. What
made this brain of mine, do you think? Not the need to move my
limbs; for a rat with half my brains moves as well as I. Not
merely the need to do, but the need to know what I do, lest in my
blind efforts to live I should be slaying myself.

THE STATUE. You would have slain yourself in your blind efforts
to fence but for my foot slipping, my friend.

DON JUAN. Audacious ribald: your laughter will finish in hideous
boredom before morning.

THE STATUE. Ha ha! Do you remember how I frightened you when I
said something like that to you from my pedestal in Seville? It
sounds rather flat without my trombones.

DON JUAN. They tell me it generally sounds flat with them,

ANA. Oh, do not interrupt with these frivolities, father. Is
there nothing in Heaven but contemplation, Juan?

DON JUAN. In the Heaven I seek, no other joy. But there is the
work of helping Life in its struggle upward. Think of how it
wastes and scatters itself, how it raises up obstacles to itself
and destroys itself in its ignorance and blindness. It needs a
brain, this irresistible force, lest in its ignorance it should
resist itself. What a piece of work is man! says the poet. Yes:
but what a blunderer! Here is the highest miracle of organization
yet attained by life, the most intensely alive thing that exists,
the most conscious of all the organisms; and yet, how wretched
are his brains! Stupidity made sordid and cruel by the realities
learnt from toil and poverty: Imagination resolved to starve
sooner than face these realities, piling up illusions to hide
them, and calling itself cleverness, genius! And each accusing
the other of its own defect: Stupidity accusing Imagination of
folly, and Imagination accusing Stupidity of ignorance: whereas,
alas! Stupidity has all the knowledge, and Imagination all the

THE DEVIL. And a pretty kettle of fish they make of it between
them. Did I not say, when I was arranging that affair of Faust's,
that all Man's reason has done for him is to make him beastlier
than any beast. One splendid body is worth the brains of a
hundred dyspeptic, flatulent philosophers.

DON JUAN. You forget that brainless magnificence of body has been
tried. Things immeasurably greater than man in every respect but
brain have existed and perished. The megatherium, the
icthyosaurus have paced the earth with seven-league steps and
hidden the day with cloud vast wings. Where are they now? Fossils
in museums, and so few and imperfect at that, that a knuckle bone
or a tooth of one of them is prized beyond the lives of a
thousand soldiers. These things lived and wanted to live; but for
lack of brains they did not know how to carry out their purpose,
and so destroyed themselves.

THE DEVIL. And is Man any the less destroying himself for all
this boasted brain of his? Have you walked up and down upon the
earth lately? I have; and I have examined Man's wonderful
inventions. And I tell you that in the arts of life man invents
nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself, and
produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague,

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