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مواضيع مترجمة/بحث شخصية الانثى في مسرحية كانديدا للكتاب جورج برنارد شو

علي اسماعيل الجاف
علي اسماعيل الجاف
  علي اسماعيل الجاف  

The Female Character in the Play Candida

By: George Bernard Shaw

بحث شخصية الانثى في مسرحية كانديدا للكتاب جورج برنارد شو

تقدم به الاستاذ الباحث علي اسماعيل الجاف

Table of Contents



The Female Character in the Play

The Researcher's Opinion






George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics.  His main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays.  Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems.  He wrote about the abuses of the working class, residing private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles.  He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1952) and an Oscar (1938) for his contribution to literature.


Shaw was born in Synge Street, Dublin.  He has two sisters: Lucinda and Elinor.  He attends the Wesley College, Dublin before moving to a private school.  He finished his education with English Scientific and Commercial Day School.  Influenced by his reading, he becomes a dedicated socialist.  Shaw's first plays were performed in 1890s.  He wrote to address social issues.  He also becomes a critic of the arts and he was self-supported as an author.


Shaw's plays contained incisive humour, which was exceptional among playwrights of the Victoria Era.  However, Shaw's witness should not obscure his important role in revolutionizing British drama.  In the Victorian Era, the London stage had been regarded as a place frothy, sentimental entertainment.  Shaw made it a form for considering moral, political and economic issues, possibly his most lasting and important contribution to dramatic art.  It means drama designed to heighten awareness of some important social issue.


Shaw asserted that each social class strong to serve its own ends, and that the upper and middle classes won in the struggle while the working class lost.  Shaw condemned the democratic system of his time, saying that workers, ruthlessly exploited by greedy employers.

(Michael, 1988: P.486)


Candida is a comedy by playwright, Shaw, was written in 1894 and published in 1898.  The central characters are clergyman James Morell, his wife Canadida and a youthful poet, who tries to win Candida's affections.  The play questions Victoria notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really desires from her husband.

(John, 1969: P.16)


The Female Character in the Play


The play is set in the north – east suburbs of London in the month of October.  It tells the story of Candida, the wife of a first – rate clergyman, James Mavor Morell.  Morell is a Christian socialist, popular in the Church of England, but Candida is responsible of and for much of his success.  Candida returns home briefly from a trip to London with Eugene, a young poet who wants to rescue her from who he presumes to be her dull family life.  Eugene 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.  Morel believes Candida needs his care and protection, but the truth is quite the controversy.  Ultimately, Candida must choose between the two gentlemen.  Candida reasserts her preference for the "weaker of the two" who after a momentary uncertainty, turns out to be her husband, Morell.

(Katherine, 1968: P.64)

Shaw's problem play, Candida, deals with the woman question in so far as it is a play about the issue of freedom of domestic woman who is at the centre of the dramatic discourse.  Her very name, Candida, suggests openness and frankness of her mind.  She is a middle aged home maker, the wife of a socialist clergyman.  Morell enjoys popularity and fame as a public speaker and a social reformist, but he is a properly dependent on Candida who has to protect and help her husband out.  Candida has been informed about the world of imagination and fancy by the poet, Eugene.

(Adams, 1986: P.20)


Morell has always believed in himself as a strong, though his strength is a false impression.  Candida places herself at an auction before her husband and her young lover.  Morel offers her all that related to the so – called social domestic status of a woman, whereas Eugene offers her that related to imagination and passion.  Candida chooses the weaker of the two.  Morel is indeed the weaker who leaves Candida to mingle with the darkness of the night.


Shaw uses a trite love – triangle only to turn it upside down in his characteristic iconoclastic manner.  The woman in this three – some relationship comes out triumphant.  She neither leaves her husband to go with her lover, nor does she apologizes for her mistake to stay back, nor is hse driven out by her husband.  A radical feminist shall never be happy with the Shavian revolution, for Candida, is still not liberated from domestic servility.  But Shaw's Candida must be a very different woman who has realized and registered her clear control and supremacy over her husband.

(Baker, 2002: P.170)


The story of Candida is about a woman who must choose between a visionary and a practical socialist who was less be set by matters of passing typical interest and have more of a genuine love story than virtually any other major Shaw play.  So, the story is centered on a classic romantic triangle, and the question, it raises about the nature of love, fidelity, and the imagination of the artist are as provocative and enduring as ever.


Candida is Morell's wife and mother of their two young children.  Shaw explains that she possesses the double charm of youth and motherhood.  Her ways are those of a woman who has found that she can always manage people by engaging their affection, and who does so frankly and instinctively without the smallest scruple.  Morell is a mature man and well-established in life.  Shaw describes him as vigorous, genial, popular, hearty, considerate manners, and a sound unaffected voice.  Whereas, Eugene is a strange, shy youth of eighteen, slight, effeminate, with a delicate childish voice.  Eugene is a young poet who is madly in love with Candida, and affection that torments him throughout the play.

(Shaw, 1896: P.492)




A woman must make a choice between two men in her life.  This may be one reason for the popularity of the play during the 80 years since it was first produced in London.  But, as always Shaw, turns the situation upside down.  The Reverend James Morell – a highly regarded and popular public speaker and an imposing figure of a man actually can't function without his wife.  Candida, his vivacious wife, dominates the household with subtle, and cleverness.  The young, idealistic poet Eugene is the catalyst who moves into this.  The drama, Candida, is about the domestic union with a dramatic work comes from the tension between husband and wife.

(Evana, 1975: P.50)


Candida is talky and certainly highly intellectual; but it permits the interpreter to give the characters the traits and dimensions which the playwright didn't intend the character to have.  There are themes in Candida: ignorance, brutality, hubris, and self – righteousness.  The most dynamic character is Eugene the pivotal one is Morell.


Morel lives for the praise and adoration his oratory produces, and for the perceived love, admiration and respect his calling invokes in his wife.  Candida has been called Shaw's representation of the "ideal woman".  Candida is a good wife and a loving mother.

(Stephen, 1956: P.70)


Shaw wants to bring into the potential escapist, conventional British theatre the real social – political world outside the theatre.  Candida represents the idealism and romanticism which are demonstrated clearly by Shaw's characters: Morell and Eugene.  The woman needs to stay at home to protect the unhappy man and husband.

(Shaw, 1962: P.804)




Gibbs, A. M. (2005). Bernard Shaw: A Life. Florida: University Press of Florida. P.554.


Holroyd, M. (1988). Bernard Shaw. Vol.1.  PP.44-51. New York: Random House.


Minney, R. J. (1969). The Bogus Image of Bernard Shaw. P.18. London: Leslie Frewin.


Matthew, J. F. (1969). George Bernard Shaw. USA. Columbia University Press. PP.16-



Ervin, J. (1949). Bernard Shaw: His Life, Word and Friends.  London: Constable and

                Company Limited.


Richard, E. (1988). Letter from Shaw. New York.


Spinks, L. (2003). Politics in Britain. Netherlands.


Tucker, J. B. (2002). Scourge the Once and Future Theatre of Smallpox Berkeley,

              California: Atlantic Monthly Press. P.34.



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