Character Sketch of Candida – Marchbanks

Character Sketch of Candida – Marchbanks

Character Sketch of Candida – Marchbanks : Account for the character of Candida. Or”Candida and Candida, the whole play rotates round her.” Discuss.

Character of Candida

In Shaw’s ‘Candida’, there is no dispute regarding the heroine of the play. Candida’s importance makes the title of the play to the point and fully justified. It is a short, simple, attractive title. A frank, open, honest, truthful, sincere, direct and plain-spoken person is called candid. Candida has all these qualities in her character. The main title is justified by this fact and establishes the fact that Candida is the central character in the play.

Her appearance-

Shaw draws a graphic picture of Candida. She is a charming lady of 33. Lexy reminds Proserpine that Candida is very beautiful and her fine eyes are lively.

Her husband’s devotion to her-

Morell loves his wife Candida very much. He claims that Candida is an ideal housewife and his curate Lexy should get a wife like Candida. Hearing it, Morell’s typist Miss Proserpine envies Candida. Proserpine remarks, that a man should not make a fool of himself about his wife. Morell regards it a great blessing to have a virtuous wife like Candida. In his opinion, Lexy should not delay in getting a wife like Candida. There is nothing wrong in it if Marchbanks too loves her.

Morell likes it that Marchbanks admires his wife. Morell points out that Marchbanks is under twenty and Candida is over thirty. In this case, their love is tender love. It looks like calf love for the mother. Candida is so nice and good-hearted to young boys that they begin to see the image of their mother in her. It is so noble and admirable that Morell is proud of Candida.

An ideal housewife-

Candia is an ideal housewife. She looks after the children well and feels no hitch in domestic duties like  washing, cleaning and filling of oil in lamps. Candida claims that she is no angel and remains satisfied in her little family. She does not wish to visit a dreamland. It is not easy to be a successful wife. It implies that she has to fulfill all the needs of her husband. For that, she has to be sometimes James’s mother and sometimes his sister and wife and mother to his children.

Practically, she is all in one. She attempts at keeping Morell’s mind free from all tensions. She does not allow anybody to worry Morell and disturb his beautiful sermons. In short, as a bird makes her nest, she builds a, castle of comfort, luxury and love for Morell. She guards it from cares and treats him well for he is the master of it. When Morell thought Candida might go away with Marchbanks, he feared for her livelihood, his position for her dignity. He is so greatly devoted to her.

Her wisdom and maturity-

Candida’s wisdom enables Marchbanks to understand what is true love and what true happiness. It is her maturity. Marchbanks claims that he worships her. His sensual desires turn into a spiritual longing. Morell confirms what he is, is the result of her efforts. Candida is not only his wife, but also his mother as well as his sister. Hearing it, Marchbanks begins to think in a new way. He had never thought about Candida in these terms. He had been composing poems on man-woman relationships. He did not know that a wife is not only a woman, but the whole family in one person.

The man who looks strongly facing the world draws courage from his wife who keeps him tension free and without her, he falls down like a puppet. A new but true picture of love now appears before Marchbanks. He realizes that love is not hidden in possessing the person whom he loves, but in making sacrifices for the delight of that person. Marchbanks has no desires for personal happiness. He knows that life may be nobler than that by giving up all for that for whom you are ready to fight against the whole world. He showers his happiness with both hands on Morell, He develops a great respect for Morell for he cares all the time for Candida whom Marchbanks loves whole heartedly.

Her enchantment-

It is true that charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul. But in Candida, Shaw presents a lady who is as charming as virtuous. The young poet dreams of walking with her in dreamlands. He wishes to take her in a boat to far away from the world of cares. She deserves to live in a dreamland of natural beauty. Here the marble floors are washed by the rain and dried by the sun. The south wind dusts the beautiful green and purple carpets of flowery grass. If she has no liking for boating, he would bring a chariot to carry her up into the sky to walk among shining stars.

When he departs, Candida advises Marchbanks to repeat two lines to himself whenever her memory haunts him. Marchbanks refuses to believe in what Candida suggests at this time. He is a poet who believes in eternity. He claims that in a hundred years, they shall be the same age. His heart hides a better secret than it. He wishes to depart now. The night outside the house welcomes him. In the world of reality, Candida cannot leave her husband and Marchbanks cannot attain her. But in his dreamland, ne is free to sail in a boat with Candida. The night that welcomes him is symbol of hopelessness, caused by his failure in getting Candida. But there is no restriction on his dreams in which he shall embrace her and no vain preacher would come to disturb him.


Thus, Candida is above the standard of common human beings. She is a diving soul with large-hearted views. Candida has a divine outlook. She loves souls. Her vision is not confined to bodies, human follies, vanities, or illusions. She gives importance to physical attraction. She believes in the purity of thought and feeling. She observes and gives weight to reality.

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