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مواضيع مترجمة/بحث (التضاد او فن مزج الطباق) في مسرحية كانديدا للكاتب جورج برنارد شوو

علي اسماعيل الجاف
علي اسماعيل الجاف
  علي اسماعيل الجاف   

The Reverse or Counterpoint in Candida

By: George Bernard Shaw

بحث (التضاد او فن مزج الطباق) في مسرحية كانديدا للكاتب جورج برنارد شوو

تقدم به الاستاذ الباحث علي اسماعيل الجاف 

Table of Contents



The Life of Bernard Shaw

The Reverse and Counterpoint in Candida







Shaw exposes to us in Candida, as stated simply, Victorian marriage in general by examining the apparently ideal marriage of Candida and James Morell.  In the final decade of the nineteenth century, the woman "women question" became a central issue.  Women demanded equal rights with men, this today, in a different form, are the women's liberation movement.  Shaw was very much favour of equality of the sexes, but in Candida, Shaw suggests that it is the women who are really in control.  It is Morell who is in need of liberation, not Candida, but Morell is pathetic because Morell can't accept the burden and responsibilities of liberty.


To understand any play by Shaw, we should remember that he was a playwright of ideas, basically, he was not interested in character developments, emotional complexity or plot; but in ideas and opinions.  It is no exaggeration to say that Shaw added a new dimension to the stage.


Candida uses her sexual charms to win the affection of men and there by control them.  Candida is introduced as an ideal wife.  Candida appears in the middle of Act II, Shaw describes Candida as a combining the double charms of youth and motherhood, and remarks on Candida's resemblance to pointing at the Virgin Mary.


Candida is a pretty woman who is just clever enough to make the most of her sexual attractions for trivially selfish ends.  Her serene brow, courageous eyes, and well-set mouth and chin signify largeness of mind and dignity of character to enable her cunning in the affections.


Finally, Shaw does not end the play when this idea becomes clear.  Shaw has one more reversal for us before Shaw will allow to the curtain to fall.  And Candida is a divine and romantic creature who is gracing the earth with her presence.  Candida is beautiful and attractive whose sphere is the home that manages people.


 The Life of George Bernard Shaw


Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland, on July 26, 1856.  He and two older sisters were the only sons of George.  His father came of a good family; he was a habitual drinker and a poor provider.  Shaw inherited his father's sense of humour and he achieved from his mother her imagination.  Both parents, although they are invariable kinds, paid little attention to their children, a situation which developed the boy's self-reliance, imagination, and inner resources.


Shaw, then, became a music teacher.  Great was his dislike of his school days. 


"They were not designed as

instructed of torture."(1)


Shaw, then, was on a visit to the country he began to think for himself about religion, developing a realization that within himself, which were principles of truth and humour.

"The change that come to me was the

Birth on me of moral passion."(2)

Shaw worked in the age of twenty as a clerk in a firm of land agents where he found himself in troubles, partly from his unorthodox conversations upon religion.  Then, he decided to leave Dublin with a self-confidence aimed at London due to there Shaw will live with his mother, as well as London is the centre of liberty, cultural activities.


In 1879, Shaw joined a debating club, the Zetetical Society.  He was intensely nervous on his first appearance, but with great determination joined other groups and forced himself to take part in discussion.


After that, he met in the reading room of the British Museum with William Archer, a Scottish dramatic critic and translator of Ibsen's plays into English.  Through him Shaw became art critic to the world.  In Shaw's active period, he began his first play, Widowers Houses, completed in 1892.  Shaw's aim was to encourage the new drama of realism.(3)


From 1892 to 1900, Shaw produced unpleasant and pleasant plays for Puritans.(4)  In 1894, Shaw produced "Arms and the Man" in London and New York.  From 1900 to 1907, Shaw produced several plays which were successfully produced at Court Theatre in London.


Shaw contributed such a great deal to English Culture in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth.  His powerful intellect appealed strongly to young, educated English people, who saw in him an intellectual leader who could introduce them to a new and exciting life of the mind, in which ideas battle against each other in a highly-unexpected manner and with surprising results.


Shaw's plays were read by old and young alike as well as his prefaces.  In Candida, when he produced it, he demonstrated his talent as a dramatist.  Shaw often added long prefaces, usually of a highly-intellectual nature, a practice to which he adhered throughout his career.

The Reverse and Counterpoint in Candida


Shaw himself wrote that Candida is a counterpoint to Ibsen's Doll House, showing that in the real typical Doll House, it is the man who is the Doll.  Ibsen in a Doll House (1879) had shown how men treated their wives as inferior creature, or dolls, and at the end of the play the heroine rebels and leaves her husband.  In Candida, Shaw powerfully reverses Ibsen's ideas.


Counterpoint or reversal was Shaw's favourite technique in all of his plays.  In Candida, Shaw not only reverses the main idea of A Doll House; but also counterpoints the typical and ideal situation of an established type of Victorian domestic comedy.  Plays about romantic adultery, or its possibility, were very popular in the nineteenth century.  These plays usually featured a dull (husband) Morell, a romantic (wife) Candida, and an attractive lover, the marriage was preserved; but Morell's attractions remained strong.(5)


In Candida, Shaw reserves the basic situation of this type of domestic comedy and also injects it with some very challenging ideas about husband – wife relations in nineteenth century England – ideas which are still quite valid today and probably account for the play's great popularity. Candida's husband, Morell, is presented at the beginning of the play as very impressive and heroic – in many ways an ideal sort of husband – and we feel that Candida is very lucky to marry Morell.  Morell is a Christian socialist, popular, widely respected, athletic, good looking, full of energy, and an excellent orator who is generally admired by many people in the community.


Candida presented and introduced as an ideal wife.  Shaw describes Candida as combining the double charms of youth and motherhood.  Candida is superior to the average "pretty woman who is just clever enough to make most of her sexual attractions for trivially selfish ends.  Candida's serene brow, courageous eyes, and well-set mouth and chin signally largeness of mind and dignity of character to enable her cunning in the affections"(6)


Eugene is the opposite of the athletic, self-assured hand some James, Shaw describes him as "a very strange, shy youth of eighteen, slight, effeminate, with a delicate childish voice, and a hunted tormented expression and a shrinking manner.  Eugene is very carelessly dressed him as "dear boy" and "a great boy".  Eugene is introduced as a highly-intelligent person."(7)

Morell offers her his strength, industry, and social position, Eugene on the other hand, offers his weakness, his desolation, his hearts need.  Candida gives herself to the weaker of the two – that is to Morell.


Candida ends of beings a play of many interpretations, which means a play of hospitable to many actors.




Shaw does not finalise the play when the stated ideas are mentioned clearly and simplicity.  Shaw has one more reversal for us before Shaw will allow the curtain to fall.  Candida is a divine romantic creature who is gracing the earth with her presence and a pretty woman where natural sphere is the home that is liked by many people.


Shaw considered the most significance British dramatist since Shakespeare.  Candida shows fond of the two men.  Candida speaks warmly of Eugene and seems obvious to Morell's growing concern.  Some of confrontation is clearly brewing.  Shaw describes Candida as maternal rather than sexual; and at the end of the play, Candida reveals the true nature – Candida wants a comfortable home in which the husband is weak and under the control – and Eugene realizes how wrong he was been about Candida.(8)




(1)Suheil B. Bushrue & Christopher S., George Bernard Shaw.  (Longman: New York, National Press, 1984). P.18

(2)George Bernard Shaw. Candida.  1984, P.19.

(3)Ibid., P.19.

(4)Playwrights of the Nineteenth Century.  Ed. David George.  (New York: National Press, 1970). P15.

(5)Kian Pishkar, Guide to English Literature.  (London: Inc., 1970). PP.227-228.

(6)OP.Cit., 1984.  PP.20-21.

(7)Guide to English Literature, 1970. P.229.

(8)William George & etal., Candida in Details.  (London: Oxford University Press, 2004). PP.20-21.




Bushuri, B. S. & S. C. George Bernard Shaw.  (Longman: New York, National Press,


Gibbs, A. M., Shaw. Edinburgh: Oliver Boyd, 1969.

Playwrights of the Nineteenth Century. Ed. David George, (New York: National Press,


George, W. & etal., Candida in Details. (London: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Shaw, B. Three Plays for Puritans.  NY, NP, ND.

Shaw, B. Arms and the Man. (London: New York, Oxford University Press, 1955).






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