Major Barbara: Character Profiles
Adolphus Cusins (also referred to as Dolly)
Cusins is betrothed to Barbara and is of Greek and Australian extraction. He is an intellectual and becomes involved in the Salvation Army through his love for her.
This is the father of Barbara, Sarah and Stephen and he runs the Undershaft cannon business. He is a foundling and is determined to carry on the Undershaft tradition of leaving the concern to another foundling rather than his biological son, Stephen.
Barbara (Major Barbara)
The eponymous heroine is a major in the Salvation Army. She is inspired by her work until the arrival of her father, Andrew Undershaft, who leads her to question the efficacy of her role.
Walker arrives at the Salvation Army to take his ‘girl’ home. He is violent and unsaved, despite Barbara’s attempts to convert him.
Charles Lomax (also referred to as Cholly)
Lomax is to marry Sarah and is characteristically flippant and somewhat vacuous.
Lady Britomart Undershaft
Lady Britomart is the mother of Barbara, Sarah and Stephen and is a dominant figure. She disagrees with her husband’s decision to carry on the Undershaft tradition of leaving the business to a foundling.
Shirley is a vehicle used to expose the ways in which a capitalist society exploits its workers until they are considered too old to be of value.
This is a minor character who reveals the weaknesses in the Salvation Army’s preference for confessions when attempting to convert recruits to its faith.
This is the sister of Barbara and plays only a minor role in the play.
Price confesses to sins he has not committed, such as beating his mother, in order to appear converted to the faith preached by the Salvation Army. His deception reveals the weakness in this movement’s desire for confession rather than literal truth.
As the eldest son, Stephen would, in normal circumstances, inherit his father’s works. Although initially disappointed that this is to be left to a foundling, he reveals he would prefer to enter into politics rather than ‘trade’ anyway. He has been raised to be a gentleman, and through his characterization the play criticizes this class position.