The Hell in Paradise: Revisiting British Development in George Bernard Shaw’s Widower’s House

Document Type: Original Article


1 Graduate candidate of English Language and Literature, Kurdistan of University, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Graduate Candidate of English Language and Literature, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran


Nineteenth-century Britain, also known as the Victorian Britain, was the age of prosperity, advancement, the dominance of the British Empire, liberality, and enhancements in diverse social grounds. Through the light of New Historicist approach, the present study comes to critically question the idealism of the Victorian era and particularly that of the 1880s. Through exploring George Bernard Shaw’s Widower’s House it is intended to provide an illuminating understanding of the different aspects of the Victorian England. Focusing on the works of literature, New Historicist critical stadnpoint brings about less subjective views towards the past and a clearer view of all incidents. The present study seeks to demonstrate that England, and more specifically London as the centre of the nineteenth-century world, was not the suggested paradise described in newspapers but rather a city in which poverty enslaved people and suffocated them in dreadful houses built around the city without having basic facilities. Sartorious in Widowers’ Houses, as a brutal slum landlord who keeps his tenants in such a dreadful condition, represents the owners of such indecent houses which have been rented to poor classes of society. This research lastly demonstrates the controversy of the state of the city suggested by authorities and the true state suggested by the author.