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Augustus Does His Bit Summary

"Augustus Does His Bit: A True-to-Life Farce " (1916) is a comic play about a foolishly idealistic aristocrat who is deceived by a spy woman during...

Summary of Augustus Does His Bit

Augustus Does His Bit Summary
Augustus Does His Bit Summary

Augustus Does His Bit - George Bernard Shaw


Lord Augustus Highcastle ( Augustus) - 45 years, colonel  in the English army

Mr. Horatio Floyd Beamish (The Clerk)

The Lady - spy woman


"Augustus Does His Bit: A True-to-Life Farce " (1916) is a comic play about a foolishly idealistic aristocrat who is deceived by a spy woman during the war between Britain and Germany. It is an anti-war play, which exposes the false notions of society about war and its heroes. Here the playwright through the clerk's views shows the negative side of the war and its effect on common people.  Augustus represents an arrogant foolish character who takes war as a serious matter to strengthen the nation.

Main Summary of Augustus Does His Bit

Augustus was sitting in the Mayor's parlor (room). He was in colonel dress and reading The Morning Post. The clerk came in. He requested Augustus to increase his salary because he didn't want to die of hunger. On the other hand, Augustus ignored it and said it was not suitable to increase salary in the time of war because many gallant armies were dying in the trench. In fact, to save money for war Augustus didn’t want to invest money to sweep the street and wanted to reduce the allowance of petrol by three quarters. He also wanted to replace the gas stove with a grate. 

Augustus had delivered recruiting speech. He told the clerk that it was his best speech which was made for army enrolment for world war first, and his town’s people needed such speech to wake up. However, the clerk showed negative aspects of war. As war is always destructive and fruitless, it brings only pain and misery to human life. It is senseless  and meaningless; therefore, the clerk said, "the country is going to the dogs."

As the clerk’s views were different from theirs he became furious and sent him out. Then he was informed that a female spy is after an important document in his possession. (control) A beautiful woman visited him. After flattering him by saying how important he was, she told him that she suspected her sister-in-law of being the spy. She told Augustus' brother, Blueloo, had made a bet that Augustus could be easily tricked, and intended to use this woman to prove it. If she became able to get the document, a list of British gun emplacements, and gave it to "Blueloo", Augustus's incompetence (stupidity) would be exposed.

The clerk entered holding the document, which Augustus had left on a coffee table in the hotel. It was the document that the lady wanted to steal. The lady very smartly exchanged the document with a fake one then she called "Blueloo" to tell them that she easily outwitted Lord Augustus. Augustus then realized that she was the spy who made him a fool.

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