George Bernard Shaw s strategies are comprehensive and embrace many aspects of his literary career. The term strategy is not used in its original sense which usually only includes the consciously based choices. In Pierre Bourdieu s usage of the term 'strategy', however, it is used about the unconsciously made choices which are made according to an innate feel for the game . It is by this definition that I have approached Shaw s aims and strategies.
Shaw s devotion to Socialism has been hard to separate from his literary career. He started off his career as a writer of political pamphlets and as a critic of arts, but Shaw s political aims affected his dramatic works immensely as well. Shaw s Socialism is therefore given a fairly essential role in this thesis.
Shaw s aims and the strategies used in order to achieve these aims seem evident in the study of his career. I believe that one of Shaw s most important aims is to disillusionize the public. People wear masks of illusions when it comes to how society conducts itself, and to unmask the public to the reality of life, Shaw s approach is to make the audience and readers face unpleasant facts. The aim of awakening the public runs through most aspects of strategic thought in the study of Shaw, but Shaw s choices are also essential when it comes to how he dealt with social issues in his plays, how he distributed tickets to the performances of his plays, and in his influence in the publication of his plays. However, the need for progress is not only limited to society. Shaw aimed at reforming the stage as well and to continue the development that started with Ibsen. Shaw had a controlling hand, consciously or unconsciously, on most of what surrounded him, even in the advertisement of his own person.
In my study of Shaw s strategies it turned out to be an impossibility to avoid the consciously made choices, and therefore I found Bourdieu s definition of the term to be insufficient in this sense, but at the same time it proved to be a very good thinking tool. Shaw seems to have had what Bourdieu calls a feel for the game , and in studying Shaw s literary career these traits add important aspects to an analysis of his strategies. Whether or not he succeeded depends on who is asking.However, there is no doubt that he achieved fame in his own lifetime, and that alone indicates that he at least achieved one of his aims; notoriety for himself.