Confluence of Minds: A Comparison of Nietzsche’s and Shaw’s ‘Vision of a Better Mankind’

GS. Aravind


Fredrick Nietzsche and George Bernard Shaw were not contemporaries. Though it is so, there are certain subtle connections between the philosophies put forward by them. Both of them were atheists and revolted against the moral conventions of their day. Their ideas were viewed as extreme in their times, as a result of which both the thinkers were deemed eccentric by the majority. In Nietzsche’s case, his slip into a state of lunacy during the final years would have further strengthened the public opinion about him.In this paper, I would attempt to make a brief comparison of the philosophies of these great writers. In order to streamline from the wide gamut of ideas they have in their credit , the concepts of ‘Ubermench’ (also called Overman) and ‘Will to Power’ put forward by Nietzsche will be compared with that of Shaw’s ideas of ‘Life Force’ and ‘Superman’. It is possible to make a connection between these two concepts and also their worldview in general so that one could find that Shaw’s ideas are an extension of Nietzsche’s but in a different way. In order to explicate the latter’s ideas, his drama Man and Superman is analyzed with reference to his concepts.

Keywords: Nietzsche, Shaw, Superman

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