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Candida

1949

About Candida

Candida, a comedy by playwright George Bernard Shaw, was written in 1894 and first published in 1898, as part of his Plays Pleasant. The central characters are clergyman James Morell, his wife Candida and a youthful poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who tries to win Candida's affections. The play questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really desires from her husband. The cleric is a Christian Socialist, allowing Shaw—himself a Fabian Socialist—to weave political issues, current at the time, into the story.

Plot

The play is set in the northeast suburbs of London in the month of October. It tells the story of Candida, the wife of a famous clergyman, the Reverend James Mavor Morell. Morell is a Christian Socialist, popular in the Church of England, but Candida is responsible for much of his success. Candida returns home briefly from a trip to London with Eugene Marchbanks, a young poet who wants to rescue her from what he presumes to be her dull family life.

Marchbanks is in love with Candida and believes she deserves something more than just complacency from her husband. He considers her divine, and his love eternal. In his view, it is quite improper and humiliating for Candida to have to attend to petty household chores. Morell believes Candida needs his care and protection, but the truth is quite the contrary. Ultimately, Candida must choose between the two gentlemen. She reasserts her preference for the "weaker of the two" who, after a momentary uncertainty, turns out to be her husband Morell.

1949

  • Genre: Drama

  • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw

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