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Candida is a comedy by playwright G. Bernard Shaw. It was first published in 1898, as part of his Plays Pleasant. The play questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really wants her husband to provide her with. Additionally, because the clergyman is a Fabian Socialist, as was Shaw, various political issues of the time are also part of the plot.
Between 1904 and 1907 The Royal Court Theatre staged several of George Bernard Shaw plays, including Candida.
The play is set in the northeast suburbs of London in October, and tells the story of Candida, the wife of a first-rate clergyman named James Mavor Morell. Morell is a popular Christian Socialist Reverend in the Church of England, yet Candida is responsible for much of his success. When he married Candida, she brought along Eugene Marchbanks, a young poet who wants to rescue her from what he presumes to be a dull family life. Marchbanks is in love with Candida, and believes she deserves something more than just complacency from her husband. Both men love her for different reasons, and she is attracted to them both for the different lifestyles they provide. Morell, sensing he is fighting a losing battle, demands Marchbanks to leave at once, yet Candida undercuts her husband and instead invites him to stay at the house. Leaving the two alone together, Reverend Morell observes Candida and the poet growing closer to one another. The men fight over her, and in the end, Candida chooses the man who needs her the most, her husband, and not where her heart is, Marchbanks. The poet leaves with a secret, which neither Morell nor Candida understand.
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