A Comedy and a Philosophy
by George Bernard Shaw
Although Man and Superman can be performed as a light comedy of manners Shaw intended the drama to be something much deeper, as suggested by the title. This title comes from Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical ideas about the "Übermensch" ("Superman"). The plot centers on John Tanner, author of "The Revolutionist's Handbook and Pocket Companion," which is published with the play as a 58-page appendix. Tanner is a confirmed bachelor despite the pursuits of Ann Whitefield and her persistent efforts to make him marry her. Ann is referred to as "the Life Force" and represents Shaw's view that in every culture, it is the women who force the men to marry them rather than the men who take the initiative.