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Candida
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on February 24, 2012
The play Candida is witty and engrossing - and in its day was quite the scandalous amusement.

I had never read George Bernard Shaw before. My only awareness of his works had been watching `My Fair Lady' - which is based on his play Pygmalion. I am impressed.

His dialogue kept me reading. It flowed flawlessly. His characters are believable and endearing. Candida's father is amusing. The side characters were not irrelevant - they added to the storyline. I really enjoyed this play, enough to download every play George Bernard Shaw wrote available on Kindle.

The banter between Candida and Eugene is flavorful. I appreciate her wise thinking. He was head over heels for her, and she was flattered by the attention. She enjoyed his company, but she knew their age variance really did make a difference. I especially thought it poignant that she told him to repeat after her "When I am 30- she will be 45. When I am 60 she will be 75."

Eugene was a dreamer and held a romanticized view of life, without considering all consequences. He was raised affluent, and in a sense looked down on Candida and her husband, a Christian clergyman. He didn't mean to, honestly, in my opinion. He was just raised with money and servants, and didn't believe that Candida should do household chores. But to me, Candida enjoyed doing the chores. She is a nurturer. She enjoys feeling needed. Her husband does not realize what he has in her. He doesn't fathom ever being without her; maybe he takes for granted that she will always be there.

Candida has a deep respect for her husband. Although I believe he was not set for confrontation. It was easier for him to spend time away speaking then face `feelings' at home. I also believe that sometimes he felt it was his duty to honor the speaking engagements, and that took its toll on home life.

I could be completely wrong on my analysis of Candida... but it's what I took from it. Read it and see what YOU take from it. Strongly recommended.

**Side comment** The next read after Candida should be "How He Lied To Her Husband" as it ties into Candida.
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on September 28, 2016
The book was basically just a printed out version of a PDF copy of the play. There was still a header at the top of every page from the original PDF, as well as a disclaimer at the beginning of the play that was clearly meant for the online version of the play. Also, the formatting was confusing and distracting to read.
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on January 20, 2016
Bought for a class assignment
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on March 24, 2013
I would recommend this to anyone. There were no problems with shipping. The product arrived on time and as stated.
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on December 26, 2014
Met my need.
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on February 25, 2013
I bought this for the sole purpose of reading it for a book club. I was, of course, hoping that it would be a good read as well. My best review of it is that I was just happy it was short. Perhaps I am a neanderthal and this is some great masterpiece that I am missing out on entirely, but there you have it.
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on August 18, 2012
Written in 1894 and published as part of "Plays Pleasant" in 1898, "Candida" is one of Shaw's earliest plays, although it wasn't performed until a decade after he wrote it. It is a comedy involving that oldest of dramas: a love triangle. Morell and his wife, Candida, are a seemingly contented married couple unsettled by the arrival of Morrell's protégé, who becomes a competitor for Candida's affections. Although Shaw skirts the issue of actual adultery, the unconcealed duel between Morrell and the young Eugene Marchbanks over the trophy of Candida is, well, awkward. And adding to the discomfort is the manner in which Candida serves as a mother-figure to both Morrell and Marchbanks, each of whom is described as "a great baby" during the course of the play. "You are my wife, my mother, my sisters: you are the sum of all loving care to me," exclaims Morell. (Paging Dr. Freud!)

It is instructive to read "Candida" and Ibsen's "A Doll's House" back to back. Both are attacks on Victorian-era morality, but Shaw inverts Ibsen's household drama into a comedy; in fact, "A Domestic Comedy" was the original subtitle before he changed it to "A Mystery" to underscore the ambiguity of the play's ending. Shaw himself later stated, on several occasions, that "Candida" was written as "a counter blast to Ibsen's `Doll House,' showing that in the real typical doll's house it is the man who is the doll." (Some critics think "Candida" borders on parody.) And in a 1937 theater program, he wrote, "the cards are not packed against the husband as in Ibsen's play [and] it is his wife who runs the establishment." Shaw does not see women as "the weaker sex"; in fact, it is her husband who is quite explicitly the "weaker" of the pair, while Eugene is the "strange, shy youth of eighteen, slight, effeminate, with a delicate childish voice, and a hunted and tormented expression and shrinking manner."

Although indisputably a classic of the theater, "Candida" doesn't read quite as fluidly on the page as do some of Shaw's later plays; the clash between the two men is faintly ludicrous; their dialogue too mannered. It has survived more as a vehicle for (excellent) actors rather than as a book to be read. Don't get me wrong: it is still a great play, the character of Candida makes up for the shortcomings of her baby-men, and the ending is perfectly and appropriately ambiguous. And there's enough barbed social commentary and trademark Shavian wit to keep most readers happy, including this exchange: "Oh, well, if you want original conversations, you'd better go and talk to yourself." "That is what all poets do: they talk to themselves out loud; and the world overhears them." That might as well be Shaw describing his own work.
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Comparing Shaw's Candida and Voltaire's Candide adds a dimension of understanding to both. Voltaire's Candide focuses on the enlightenment of a very naïve young boy who is influenced by his teacher, the philosopher Pangloss, who teaches him that this is "the best of all possible worlds" and therefore everything in it and everything that happens is not only good but the best that could possibly be. Voltaire was pocking fun at the philosopher Leibniz who taught this notion. Leibniz argued that God is good and all that he creates must of necessity be good. Voltaire shows that this is a ridiculous notion - according to this view, why save a man who is drowning since his death is "obviously" the best thing there is. The boy comes to understand that philosophy/thinking is not good; one should instead live life to the fullest.

Shaw's Candida focuses on a woman and what women want from men. However, the comedy in three acts also contains a very naïve young boy and it too enlightens men who have a wrong concept. The eighteen-year-old boy falls in love with the wife of an approximately forty-year-old pastor. She is fifteen years older than the boy. Both the pastor and the boy argue about who Candida should live with. Both want to give her the best of all possible worlds. Both ask Candida to decide between them. But, as in the Voltaire tale, Candida is not interested in the best of all possible worlds. She makes her choice based on an entirely different desire.
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on February 7, 2010
In this wonderful play, Shaw addresses the topic of what women really want in a man through the character of Candida, who is a brilliant woman responsible for her husband's success. When a handsome, young poet sets out to steal her away from her husband, whom the poet sees as too boring and complacent, Candida is forced to choose between the two men.
This is a fascinating character study that analyzes love, loyalty, and attraction in the context of a smart woman's desires. Shaw's choice of an extremely intelligent woman as the prize the two men are fighting over takes the premise and the stakes up to a much higher level and also increases my respect for the men involved. They are not battling over a dimwitted but lovely bimbo. They are vying for a very capable woman who is able to assess and address the situation intelligently.
Shaw is my favorite of the Victorian playwrights. His works were revolutionary in many ways. Use of humor was rare and exceptional for playwrights during that era, but Shaw was not afraid to make audiences laugh. He also tackled serious moral, political, and social issues in his plays at a time when sappy dramas were all the rage. He was truly bold and innovative and greatly contributed to dramatic art. He had an amazing gift, the ability to make people think while simultaneously making them laugh.
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on March 4, 2010
Shaw's feminist leanings come to light in this humorous tale of two men fighting over a woman who outranks them in intelligence. I thought the choice of characters used to engage the topic via a love triangle was perfect: a brilliant woman, a clergyman settled into his routine, and a dashing poet promising romance and excitement. I really enjoyed the story and wondered which man Candida would ultimately choose.
As usual, Shaw turns everything on its head. Candida's husband is a prominent and imposing man in public but in reality can't function without his wife. Candida herself is kind and clever and gently rules the roost. The idealistic poet is the catalyst who causes all to confront themselves, their needs, desires, and reality. It's a wonderful story with an explosive ending.
George Bernard Shaw created numerous masterpieces over the span of his writing career. He has the distinction of being the only person to ever be awarded both an Oscar and the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was a very humble and conscientious man, a political activist and a vegetarian. His conscientiousness shows in his work by his inability to write meaningless fluff at a time when fluff dominated the stage. His trademark is his classic use of ample humor in dramas with serious subject matter. It takes a special kind of genius to be able to pull that off as flawlessly as he did.
This book is excellent. It's as thought provoking as it is entertaining. There are times when you can't help laughing out loud. You'll be better for reading it. His works just have that effect - they both enrich and uplift you.
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