Candida
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"Candida" Summary

By George Bernard Shaw

plays | 112 pages | Published in 1934

ISBN_13: 9780143039785

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A satirical play exploring the complexities of love and marriage through the character of Candida.

Introduction

In "Candida," a play written by George Bernard Shaw, the author explores the complexities of love, marriage, and societal expectations. Published in 1898, this comedic drama delves into the lives of the Morell family and their struggle to reconcile their desires with societal norms. Shaw's wit and insightful commentary make "Candida" a timeless exploration of human relationships and the societal expectations that shape them.

Brief Synopsis

Set in Victorian England, "Candida" takes place in the home of Reverend James Morell and his wife, Candida. The play primarily revolves around the love triangle between Candida, her husband James, and a young poet named Eugene Marchbanks.

James Morell is a respected clergyman and a champion of progressive ideals. He is admired by many, including Eugene Marchbanks, who becomes infatuated with Candida. As the play progresses, Eugene's infatuation intensifies, leading to a confrontation between him and James.

Candida, the central character, is a complex woman who is loved by both James and Eugene. Throughout the play, she demonstrates her agency and challenges the societal expectations placed upon her as a wife and a woman.

Main Characters

CharacterDescription
CandidaReverend Morell's wife, a strong-willed and independent woman who is loved by both James and Eugene.
Reverend James MorellCandida's husband, a respected clergyman known for his progressive ideals.
Eugene MarchbanksA young poet infatuated with Candida, who becomes entangled in a love triangle with Candida and James.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Act 1: Candida's World

The play begins with a domestic scene in the Morell household. Candida is shown as a nurturing figure, taking care of her husband and the household. Eugene Marchbanks, a young poet, arrives at their home and professes his love for Candida. This revelation shocks James and sets the stage for the conflict that unfolds throughout the play.

Act 2: The Love Triangle Unveiled

In Act 2, tensions escalate as Eugene's infatuation with Candida becomes more apparent. He confronts James and openly declares his love for Candida. James, initially dismissive, begins to doubt his own worthiness and questions Candida's feelings for him.

Act 3: Candida's Decision

Act 3 focuses on Candida's agency and her decision-making. She takes charge of the situation and confronts both James and Eugene. Candida's strength and independence challenge societal expectations of women during the Victorian era.

Act 4: Resolving the Conflict

The final act revolves around the resolution of the love triangle and the consequences of Candida's decision. Shaw explores the themes of love, marriage, and societal expectations as the characters grapple with their emotions and the societal norms that confine them.

Main Events

  1. Eugene Marchbanks professes his love for Candida, shocking James.
  2. Tensions escalate as Eugene's infatuation becomes more apparent.
  3. Candida takes charge and confronts both James and Eugene, asserting her agency.
  4. The love triangle reaches its climax as the characters grapple with their emotions and societal expectations.
  5. The conflict is resolved, and the consequences of Candida's decision are explored.

Themes and Insights

Love and Desire

Shaw explores the complexities of love and desire in "Candida." The play delves into the different forms of love, including romantic love, admiration, and companionship. Shaw challenges the notion that love is purely romantic, emphasizing the importance of emotional connection and mutual respect.

Gender Roles and Societal Expectations

The play critiques the restrictive gender roles and societal expectations placed on women during the Victorian era. Candida challenges these norms by asserting her agency and making her own choices, refusing to be confined by societal expectations.

Marriage and Relationships

Shaw examines the institution of marriage and questions the traditional roles within it. He emphasizes the importance of communication, trust, and equality in a successful marriage. Through the love triangle, Shaw highlights the complexities and nuances of relationships, ultimately advocating for open and honest communication.

Reader's Takeaway

"Candida" provides a thought-provoking exploration of love, marriage, and societal expectations. Shaw's sharp wit and insightful commentary make this play a compelling read. Readers will be challenged to question societal norms and reflect on their own relationships and desires. The play serves as a reminder that true love and fulfillment can only be achieved through open communication, mutual respect, and the assertion of personal agency.

Conclusion

George Bernard Shaw's "Candida" is a timeless play that delves into the complexities of love, marriage, and societal expectations. Through the love triangle between Candida, James, and Eugene, Shaw provides a thought-provoking exploration of human relationships and challenges the norms of the Victorian era. With its witty dialogue and insightful commentary, "Candida" continues to captivate readers and offer valuable insights into the nature of love and desire.

Candida FAQ

  1. Who is the author of Candida?

    The author of Candida is George Bernard Shaw.

  2. What is the genre of Candida?

    Candida is a play categorized as a comedy of manners.

  3. When was Candida first published?

    Candida was first published in 1898.

  4. Where is Candida set?

    Candida is set in London, England.

  5. What is the main theme of Candida?

    The main theme of Candida is the exploration of love, marriage, and societal expectations.

  6. Who are the main characters in Candida?

    The main characters in Candida are Candida, Morell, Marchbanks, Burgess, and Lexy.

  7. What is the plot of Candida?

    Candida revolves around the love triangle between Candida, her husband Morell, and a young poet named Marchbanks.

  8. Is Candida based on a true story?

    No, Candida is a work of fiction and is not based on a true story.

  9. What is the significance of the title Candida?

    The title Candida refers to the name of the female protagonist and symbolizes her role as the central figure in the play.

  10. Has Candida been adapted into other forms of media?

    Yes, Candida has been adapted into various film and television adaptations over the years.