The Perfect Wagnerite - Unabridged
The Perfect Wagnerite is a philosophical commentary on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. According to Shaw: "I write this pamphlet for the assistance of those who wish to be introduced to the work on equal terms with that inner circle of adepts... The reason is that its dramatic moments lie quite outside the consciousness of people whose joys and sorrows are all domestic and personal, and whose religions and political ideas are purely conventional and superstitious. To them it is a struggle between half a dozen fairytale personages for a ring, involving hours of scolding and cheating, and one long scene in a dark gruesome mine, with gloomy, ugly music... Only those of wider consciousness can follow it breathlessly, seeing in it the whole tragedy of human history and the whole horror of the dilemmas from which the world is shrinking today." Shaw interprets the Ring in Marxian terms as an allegory of the collapse of capitalism from its internal contradictions.