Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Candida. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

True to the Christian principles he preaches, Morell employs the virtue of patience and prepares for self sacrifice as he awaits the fate of his marriage.

Main Character Growth

Morell needs to hold out for Candida to make the decision to stay with him.

Main Character Approach

As an example of James Morell’s approach as a be-er, when Eugene Marchbanks announces Candida is better off with himself rather than the clergyman, Morell accepts him as a threat instead of dismissing the poet’s youthful foolishness. He then puts the burden of settling the crisis upon Candida, avoiding handling the matter himself.

Main Character Mental Sex

Morell thinks linearly; when his marriage is threatened he considers nothing but the threat itself; if he had put the threat in perspective of his happy marriage, he would realize the danger never existed.

Story Driver

“Candida” focuses on the decision Candida is asked to make, to stay with Morell or leave with Marchbanks:

Morell: We have agreed-he and I-that you shall choose between us now. I await your decision.

It is made clear, however, that Candida may decide on neither man:

Candida: Oh! I am to choose, am I? I suppose it is quite settled that I must belong to one or the other.

Morell: Quite. You must choose definitely.

Marchbanks: Morell: you dont understand. She means that she belongs to herself. (Shaw, 1895, p. 551)

Story Limit

As rivals for Candida’s affections, Morell and Marchbanks feel the only option in settling the matter is for Candida to choose between the two men.

Story Outcome

The Morells’ marriage survives Marchbanks’s efforts at disruption; Marchbanks comes to realize his true nature; Burgess is welcomed back into his daughter and son-in-law’s good graces; and so forth.

Story Judgment

Morell’s anxiety over the possibility of losing Candida to Marchbanks is appeased as Marchbanks takes his leave and husband and wife embrace.

Overall Story Throughline

"Candida, We Can Make It Together . . ."

Overall Story Throughline

Morell and Marchbanks rival for Candida; Burgess endeavors to ingratiate himself back into the Morell household; Lexy attempts to emulate Morell by endeavoring to copy his mannerisms:

Proserpine: You never cut a poorer figure than when you try to imitate him.

Lexy: I try to follow his example, not to imitate him.

Proserpine: Yes, you do: you imitate him. Why do you tuck your umbrella under your left arm instead of carrying it in your hand like anyone else? Why do you walk with your chin stuck out before you, hurrying along with that eager look in your eyes? you! who never get up before half past nine in the morning. (Shaw, 1895, p. 497)

Overall Story Concern

Marchbanks is concerned with Candida appreciating him, and knowing he understands her; he cannot understand how the object of his desire can love a windbag like Morell; Marchbanks understands Proserpine is in love with Morell:

“Marchbanks: Ah! I understand now.

Proserpine (reddening): What do you understand?

Marchbanks: Your secret. Tell me: is it really and truly possible for a woman to love him?” (Shaw, 1895, p. 518).

Candida laughingly tells Morell that Marchbanks “understands you; he understands me; he understands Prossy; and you, darling, you understand nothing” (Shaw, 1895, p. 530).

Overall Story Issue

Shaw thematically makes an argument that it is best to follow one’s innate impulses:

Morell’s first instinct upon hearing Marchbanks’s declaration of love for his wife is to laugh, however, once his confidence is undermined, he loses his temper:

“Leave my house. Do you hear? (He advances on him threateningly)” (Shaw, 1895, p. 512).

Candida “is a woman of strong instincts…The maternal instinct is particularly strong” (Irvine, 1949, p. 175); “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” (Charney, 1985, p. 503).

Overall Story Counterpoint

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Instinct vs.Conditioning

Overall Story Problem

It never occurs to Candida that Marchbanks’s schoolboy crush may threaten her husband; instead of using his own process of consideration, Lexy takes Morell’s words as gospel; Prossy has a problem with everyone thinking Candida is so wonderful while she is overlooked:

Proserpine: Candida here, and Candida there, and Candida everywhere! It’s enough to drive anyone out of their senses to hear a woman raved about in that absurd manner merely because she’s got good hair and a tolerable figure.

Lexy: I think her extremely beautiful, Miss Garnett….how fine her eyes are!

Proserpine: Her eyes are not a bit better that mine: now! And you know very well you think me dowdy and second rate enough.

Lexy: Heaven forbid that I think of any of God’s creatures in such a way! (Shaw, 1895, p. 496)

Morell has great difficulty with the way his father-in-law thinks, specifically Burgess considering his economic success “the inevitable and socially wholesome triumph of the ability, industry, shrewdness, and experience in business of a man who in private is easygoing, affectionate, and humorously convivial to a fault” (Shaw, 1895, p. 498), when in reality Burgess’ success is due to the slave labor practices Morell abhors.

Overall Story Solution

Once Candida knows Morell has felt threatened by Marchbanks, she is able to put her husband in his place asking, “Do you mind what is said by a foolish boy?” (Shaw, 1895, p. 550); Prossy recognizes her position in the Morell household as one that is only a helpmate to Morell and his wife and comes to “appreciate her (Candida’s) real qualities far better than any man can” (Shaw, 1895, p. 496); Morell demands Burgess admit he knows he is a scoundrel:

So long as you come here honestly as a self-respecting, thorough, convinced, scoundrel…you are welcome. I wont have you here snivelling about being a model employer and a converted man when youre only an apostate with your coat turned for the sale of a County Council contract. No: I like a man to be true to himself, even in wickedness. (Shaw, 1895, p. 502)

Overall Story Symptom

Prossy concentrates her efforts on making Morell happy by using her excellent secretarial abilities and her willingness to help with household duties; Lexy concentrates on improving his abilities as a curate; Candida is capable of running the household, caring for the children, and keeping her father, husband, and house guest in their proper places.

Overall Story Response

Proserpine longs for love (especially in the shape of Morell); Burgess craves prosperity; Lexy wants to be the successful clergy man Morell is; in each their own way, Morell and Candida want order restored to the household.

Overall Story Catalyst

The story accelerates forward when Candida observes conflict between Morell and Marchbanks and demands an explanation.

Overall Story Inhibitor

The inevitable arrival of Burgess, Prossy, and Lexy impedes a discussion between Candida, Morell, and Marchbanks that could have resolved the two men’s conflict much sooner:

Candida (Troubled): I dont understand about this morning.

Morell (gently snubbing her.) You need not understand, my dear.

Candida: But, James, I-(The street bell rings.) Oh bother! Here they all come. (She goes out to let them in.) (Shaw, 1895, p. 545)

Overall Story Benchmark

The more everyone learns how family and work relationships function, the closer they are to preventing seriously disruptive misunderstandings in the community; the more Morell and Marchbanks learn from Candida what it takes to maintain balance and happiness in the household, the closer they come to resolving the love triangle:

Marchbanks (flushing with a young poet’s rage against tyranny): By what right is he master?

Candida (quietly): Tell him, James.

Morell (taken aback): My dear: I dont know of any right that makes me master. I assert no such right.

Candida (with infinite reproach) You dont know! Oh, James! James! (To Eugene, musingly.) I wonder do you understand, Eugene! (He shakes his head helplessly, not daring to look at her.) No: youre too young. Well, I give you leave to stay: to stay and learn…I build a castle of comfort and indulgence and love for him, and stand sentinel always to keep little vulgar cares out. I make him master here, though he does not know it, and could not tell you a moment ago how it came to be so. (Shaw, 1895, pp. 549, 553)

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

Into the happy household of the Reverend James Mavor Morell and his wife Candida comes the aristocratic and waiflike poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who is a “strange, shy youth of eighteen.” Although a foolishly petulant, unmanly, and romantic youth, he exposes the complacency and smugness of the Morell’s marriage. (Charney, 1985, p. 486)

Main Character Throughline

James Morell — Clergyman, Candida's husband

Main Character Throughline

James Morell holds fixed points of view on the role of the Christian, and roles husbands and wives play in marriage.

Main Character Concern

Morell recollects his estrangement from his father-in-law is because Burgess paid starvation wages to his parishioners Burgess hired, and how he “shamed the Guardians out of accepting your tender: I shamed the ratepayers out of letting them do it: I shamed everybody but you. (Boiling over.) How dare you, sir, come here and offer to forgive me…” (Shaw, 1895, p. 500); he unhappily recalls the poet’s words of the morning when Candida raves about Marchbanks’s astuteness:

Morell: His words!

Candida (checking herself quickly in the act of getting up): Whose words?

Morell: Eugene’s.

Candida (delighted): He is always right. He understands you; he understands me; he understands Prossy; and you, darling, you understand nothing. (She laughs, and kisses him to console him. He recoils as if stabbed, and springs up). (Shaw, 1895, p. 530)

Main Character Issue

Morell’s misery increases as he accepts Candida’s words as grounds for belief that she no longer loves him.

Main Character Counterpoint

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Evidence vs.Suspicion

Main Character Problem

Morell is absurdly self-important. He cannot recognize the difference between rhetoric and conversation, so that he makes the constant error of addressing everyone as if they were his audience…. he is content to spout clerical and moralistic platitudes at moments of high crisis…trapped by his own oratorical self-sufficiency. He is too articulate to distrust the medium in which he has been so brilliantly attractive. (Charney, 1985, pp. x, 487)

Main Character Solution

Candida does her best to teach Morell to become outwardly perceptive. “Candida is constantly aware of how obtuse her husband really is, and that it is her role to point out to him that marriage depends on love and not on a handful of high-minded principles” (Charney, 1985, p. 487).

Main Character Symptom

Morell focuses on his ability as a pastor, and as a husband:

Morell (with proud humility): I have nothing to offer you but my strength for your defence, my honesty of purpose for your surety, my ability and industry for your livelihood, and my authority and position for your dignity. That is all it becomes a man to offer a woman. (Shaw, 1895, p. 551)

Main Character Response

Morell is motivated to maintain his happy marriage, and makes the mistake of concentrating on his talent for oratory to expound on his abilities as a man and husband to keep her-when all Candida wants is his faith in her love for him: “Candida is stung with the ridiculous posturing of her husband’s ‘mellow’ style, and…she speaks ‘coldly,’ offended by Morell’s ‘yielding to his orator’s instinct and treating her as if she were the audience in the Guild of St. Matthew’ (Charney, 1985, p. 487)

Main Character Unique Ability

As a personage of importance in the community, Morell is in a position to gather evidence of wrongdoings and misunderstandings and put an end to them as evidenced by his stopping Burgess’ mistreatment of the parishioners (slave wages); Morell eventually has all the proof he needs of his wife’s love and loyalty for him.

State of Being
Main Character Critical Flaw

Morell’s absurd self-importance and tendency toward being overly dramatic undermines his sincerity with Candida and others around him:

Morell’s supreme fault is one which is typical of all eloquent people, whether they be politicians or priests. Such men…deceive not only emotional audiences, but, what is worse, themselves, because they vainly imagine that eloquence and mind are identical. (Ervine, 1956, p. 281)

Main Character Benchmark

The more Morell considers Marchbanks a threat, the more he is concerned with the state of his marriage.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

A vigorous, genial, popular man of forty, robust and good-looking, full of energy, with pleasant, hearty, considerate manners, and a sound unaffected voice, which he uses with the clean athletic articulation of a practised orator, and with a wide range and perfect command of expression. (Shaw, 1896, p. 492)

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Irvine (1949) states:

In the opening scenes we learn a good deal about the Reverend Morell. Toward Prossy and Lexy, he is wise and indulgent; toward Burgess, vigorous and frank. “He is a first rate clergyman, able to say what he likes to whom he likes, to lecture people without setting himself up against them, to impose his authority on them without humiliating them.” We learn also that he considers his wife the rock and foundation of his happiness. (Irvine, 1949, p. 174) Problems occur for Morell when a young friend of the family decides he is in love with Morell’s wife, Candida, and the clergyman’s self-confidence diminishes. It is not until he puts this tempest in a teapot on his wife’s shoulders to resolve that he himself is finally put in his place in regard to himself, his wife, and their relationship.

Influence Character Throughline

Eugene Marchbanks — Poet

Influence Character Throughline

Marchbanks explores the institution of marriage and “domestic bliss.”

Influence Character Concern

Candida points out to Marchbanks his past is what makes him the poet, and that domestic life would stilt him:

Candida: ...You have had to live without comfort or welcome or refuge, always lonely, and nearly always disliked and misunderstood, poor boy!

Marchbanks (faithful to the nobility of his lot): I had my books. I had Nature. And at last I met you…

Candida (in his (Morell’s) arms smiling, to Eugene): Am I your mother and sisters to you, Eugene?

Marchbanks (rising with a fierce gesture of disgust): Ah, never. Out, then, into the night with me! (Shaw, 18955, pp. 551-552)

Influence Character Issue

Marchbanks foretells the demise of Morells’ marriage when he compares James Morell to King David and Candida to his wife who “despised him in her heart” (Shaw, 1895, p. 512).

Influence Character Counterpoint

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Prediction vs.Interdiction

Influence Character Problem

Marchbanks is infatuated with the thought of being completely devoted to one person and receiving complete devotion in return. This infatuation drives him away from his own family and into Candida’s.

Influence Character Solution

Marchbanks accepts the knowledge that what he thinks is his undying love for Candida is a passing infatuation and comes to the conclusion he must remain a lonely poet when he:

Experiences the metamorphosis from sensuality to spirituality and artistic dedication. Looking upon the suffocating commonplaces of the Morell household, he concludes that domesticity, security, and love are inferior ends compared with the sublime and lonely renunciation of the artist. (Holroyd, 1988, p. 316)

Influence Character Symptom

With great disdain, Marchbanks focuses on how the Morells’ marriage is structured; his opinion of their domestic situation unnerves Morell.

Influence Character Response

Marchbanks’s declaration to Morell that he loves his wife brings chaos into Morell’s well ordered life.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Marchbanks predicts to Morell Candida will leave her husband for himself; this forces the clergyman to re-evaluate himself, his wife, and their marriage.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Marchbanks instinctively understands the true nature of others, however, this instinct fails when it comes to understanding his own. This quality eventually undermines his impact on Morell.

Influence Character Benchmark

The longer Marchbanks remains in the Morells’ existing domestic situation, the more he comes to realize he wants no part of it. This eventually leads to his exit, relieving the pressure he has put on their relationship.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

He is a strange, shy youth of eighteen, slight, effeminate, with a delicate childish voice, and a hunted and tormented expression and shrinking manner that shew [sic] the painful sensitive of very swift and acute apprehensiveness in youth, before the character has grown to its full strength…he is so uncommon as to be almost unearthly; and to prosaic people there is something noxious in this unearthliness, just as to poetic people there is something angelic in it. (Shaw, 1895, p. 505)

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Marchbanks, an eighteen year old poet and friend of the Morell family has fallen in love with Candida Morell, and “conceiving love as a romantic ecstasy which has nothing to do with the domesticities of peeling onions and trimming lamps and little to do with the sublunary detail of physical possession” (Irvine, 1949, p. 175) he unsuccessfully attempts to win her away from her husband.

In the extremity of defeat and suffering, he rises suddenly to a realization of his destiny, and rejecting the mere happiness of Candida and her husband, goes out into the night, so that at the very close of the play the theme of the loneliness and self-sufficiency of genius surges up to dominance. (Irvine, 1949, p. 178)

Relationship Story Throughline

"Who Will Win Fair Candida's Heart? The Clergyman or the Poet?"

Relationship Story Throughline

Morell and Marchbanks differ in their ways of thinking about love, “James’s idea of love is as romantically conventional as Eugene’s is romantically poetic” (Irvine, 1949, p. 175).

Relationship Story Concern

Marchbanks forces Morell to imagine how Candida may feel about her husband:

Ive never been in your church; but Ive been to your political meetings; and Ive seen you do whats called rousing the meeting to enthusiasm: that is, you excited them until they behave exactly as if they were drunk. And their wives looked on and saw what fools they were. Oh it’s an old story: youll find it in the Bible. I imagine King David, in his fits of enthusiasm, was very like you. (Stabbing him with the words.) “But his wife despised him in her heart.” (Shaw, 1895, p. 512)

State of Being
Relationship Story Issue

Marchbanks attacks Morell’s perception of himself with what he claims is the actual nature of his character:

Marchbanks (looking round wildly): Is it like this for her here always? A woman, with a great soul, craving for reality, truth, freedom; and being fed on metaphors, sermons, stale perorations, mere rhetoric. Do you think a woman’s soul can live on your talent for preaching?

Morell (stung): Marchbanks, you make it hard for me to control myself. My talent is like yours insofar as it has any real worth at all. It is the gift of finding words for divine truth.

Marchbanks (impetuously): It’s the gift of the gab, nothing more and nothing less. (Shaw, 1895, p. 512)

And later:

Marchbanks: Here endeth the thousand and first lesson, Morell, I dont think much of your preaching after all: I believe I could do it better myself. The man I want to meet is the man that Candida married….I don’t mean the Reverend James Mavor Morell, moralist and windbag. I mean the real man that the Reverend James must have hidden somewhere inside his black coat-the man that Candida loved. (Shaw, 1895, p. 540)

Sense of Self
Relationship Story Counterpoint

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
State of Being vs.Sense of Self

Relationship Story Problem

Morell giving credence to the unlikely scenario Candida may leave him for Marchbanks is the source of problems between the two men.

Relationship Story Solution

Once Morell and Marchbanks are able to extrapolate there is no place in the poet’s future for the Morells’ kind of domestic happiness, their problem is resolved:

Marchbanks: I no longer desire happiness: life is nobler than that. Parson James: I give you my happiness with both hands: I love you because you have filled the heart of the woman I loved. Goodbye. (Shaw, 1895, pp. 553-554)

Relationship Story Symptom

Each man is convinced they are the only one suited to make Candida happy. Morell concentrates on his conventional qualities as an upright and honest man, who makes a viable living, while Marchbanks is sure his romantic imagination and childish neediness will fulfill her dreams:

Morell: Some fiddlestick! oh, if she is mad enough to leave me for you, who will protect her? who will help her? who will work for her? who will be a father to her children? (He sits down distractedly on the sofa, with his elbows on his knees and his head propped on his clenched fists.)

Marchbanks (snapping his fingers wildly): She does not ask those silly questions. It is she who wants somebody to protect, to help, to work for. Some grown man who has become as a little child again. Oh, you fool, you fool, you triple fool! I am the man, Morell: I am the man. (Shaw, 1895, p. 543)

Relationship Story Response

As much as Marchbanks is driven to upset the Morells’ domestic situation, Morell is motivated to maintain it. Morell’s anxiety increases as Marchbanks undermines his sense of security; Marchbanks becomes sympathetic toward Morell as he begins to understand his rival’s vulnerability.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Morell and Marchbanks determine their situation is intolerable and must be resolved quickly.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Morell’s and Marchbanks’s progress toward resolving their conflict is impeded when at first Morell keeps the truth of Marchbanks’s revelation from Candida:

Morell (puzzled): Why do you want her to know this?

Marchbanks (with lyric rapture): Because she will understand me, and know that I understand her. If you keep back one word of it from her-if you are not ready to lay the truth at her feet as I am-then you will know to the end of your days that she really belongs to me and not to you. Goodbye. (Going.)

Morell (terribly disquieted): Stop: I will not tell her.

Marchbanks (turning near the door): Either the truth or a lie you must tell her, if I go.

Morell (temporizing): Marchbanks: it is sometimes justifiable-

Marchbanks (cutting him short): I know: to lie. It will be useless. Goodbye, Mr. Clergyman. (Shaw, 1895, pp. 513-514)

Relationship Story Benchmark

As time goes on, Morell arrives at the idea Marchbanks is accurate in his prediction that Candida has come to despise him in her heart:

Morell (continuing): Eugene was right. As you told me a few hours after, he is always right. He said nothing that you not say far better yourself. He is the poet, who sees everything; and I am the poor parson, who understands nothing. (Shaw, 1895, p. 550)

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Irvine (1949) states Marchbanks:

...cannot understand how a woman like Candida can have any feeling for a windbag like James Morell. He tells James so without delay, having first declared his own love. Morell meets this youthful outburst with magnificent condescension and indulgence. And yet he has apparently himself noticed in Candida’s attitude toward him something disturbing, which he has always been reluctant to understand….Slashing about with truths that are quite irrelevant of Candida’s marriage, he cuts deep into the clergyman’s self-confidence and therefore into the latter’s faith in his wife’s love. (p. 175)

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

The goal of common concern to the objective characters is reaching an understanding of how the family and work relationships are balanced within the parsonage, and to clear up any misunderstandings that occur:

“‘Candida’ is based on a very old dramatic device: a misunderstanding. In the course of the play, husband and wife come for the first time to genuinely understand each other and their actual relationship” (Irvine, 1949, p. 174).

Overall Story Consequence

If Morell doesn’t come to understand his wife and marriage, he will remain vulnerable to imagining she may leave him; if Candida doesn’t understand the true anguish behind Morell’s preachy words she may very well envision leaving him; if Marchbanks doesn’t realize the domesticity is not for him, he will have to envision creating poetry, not in artist’s solitude, but while carrying out such mundane chores as trimming lamps and peeling onions.

Overall Story Cost

Marchbanks turns his back on his past life as an aristocrat; Burgess must curb his tendency to be a scoundrel if he is to be a welcome member of the Morell family; and so forth.

Overall Story Dividend

Marchbanks will always have a fond memory of the first woman he fell in love with; Morell will never forget the young man who poked holes in his complacency; and so forth.

Overall Story Requirements

As a woman living in a time where females were not encouraged to form, much less voice, their opinions, Candida must learn how to speak her mind; Morell must learn how his marriage operates; Marchbanks must learn what the unromantic side of domestic life consists of (peeling onions and cleaning boots) before rushing into it; and so forth.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Candida surmises Morell and Marchbanks have argued over her, and they must both be put in their place.

Overall Story Preconditions

The circumstances that precipitate Candida and Morell reaching a new understanding of their marital relationship, and Marchbanks coming to an understanding of his true nature, occur the moment Marchbanks declares his rivalry for Candida’s affections and Morell accepts his threat.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Morell’s serious consideration of Marchbanks’s threat to take Candida away signals the potential loss of his marriage; Candida cautions Morell to keep in mind her love for him, “for if that went, I should care very little for your sermons” (Shaw, 1895, p. 530).

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Morell teases Lexy that if he catches the measles he would be a lucky man if nursed by Candida:

“Lexy (smiling uneasily): It’s so hard to understand you about Mrs. Morell-

Morell (tenderly): Ah, my boy, get married; get married to a good woman; and then you’ll understand” (Shaw, 1895, p. 495).

After a three year estrangement, Morell’s father-in-law seeks an “honorable unnerstannin” (Shaw, 1895, p. 504) and whatever else he can get from his son-in-law; and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Morell is receiving a deputation; Proserpine is transcribing Morell’s letters; Candida is tending to household matters; Marchbanks is “wandering about the room in his lost ways” (Shaw, 1895, p. 517).

Overall Story Signpost 3

Candida informs Morell she must have his attention; Candida tells Morell to “Put your trust in my love for you, James; for if that went, I should care very little for your sermons: mere phrases that you cheat yourself and others with every day” (Shaw, 1895, p. 530); Burgess exclaims madness is “catchin! Four in the same ouse” (Shaw, 1895, p. 533); through Morell, Burgess wants to obtain an introduction to the chairman of the Works Committee of the County Council; and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Candida discerns what has transpired between Morell and Marchbanks; Marchbanks wishes to find out what Candida ever saw in Morell; Proserpine learns the effects of champagne; and so forth.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Morell contemplates a speaking engagement for Communist Anarchists; he considers if Burgess has actually changed his slave driving ways; Morell considers he has a rival for his wife.

Main Character Signpost 2

As Morell begins to take Marchbanks’s rivalry seriously, he starts to fear for his marriage:

(Morell is silent. Apparently he is busy with his letters: really he is puzzling with misgiving over his new and alarming experience that the surer he is of his moral thrusts, the more swiftly and effectively Eugene parries them. To find himself beginning to fear a man whom he does not respect afflicts him bitterly.) (Shaw, 1895, p. 525)

Main Character Signpost 3

At the opening of Act 1, Morell makes clear to Prossy, that despite his active schedule, he is committed to address any group that asks of his services. And later on, Candida asks, “Why must you go out every night lecturing and talking? I hardly have one evening a week with you” (Shaw, 1895, p. 527). Yet, by Act 3, because he believes himself to be in the midst of a marital crisis, for the first time in everyone’s memory Morell is frustrated with a demand for a speaking engagement, “These people forget that I am a man: they think I am a talking machine to be turned on for their pleasure every evening of my life” (Shaw, 1895, p. 532).

Main Character Signpost 4

Morell’s immediate response to Marchbanks addressing his wife by her first name is to involuntarily seize the poet:

Morell: Out with the truth, man: my wife is my wife: I want no more of your poetic fripperies. I know well that if I have lost her love and you have gained it, no law will bind her. (Shaw, 1895, p. 542)

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Marchbanks wishes to put his past life as an aristocrat behind him to take on what he believes is the romantic life of a starving artist.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Marchbanks recites to Candida how he would like to take her away into the future with, “A tiny shallop to sail away in, far from the world…or a chariot! to carry us up into the sky, where the lamps are stars, and dont need to be filled with parafin oil every day” (Shaw, 1895, p. 524).

Influence Character Signpost 3

Marchbanks views his developing relationship with Candida as positive, especially when he interprets her teasing words to Morell as cruel taunts.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Marchbanks make an assessment of his current situation and determines he prefers the future of a solitary poet: “Looking upon the suffocating commonplaces of the Morell household, he concludes that domesticity, security, and love are inferior ends compared with the sublime and lonely renunciation of the artist” (Holroyd, 1988, p. 316).

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Marchbanks cuts Morell to the quick when he demands Morell to envision what he believes is the spiritual emptiness of Candida’s life with him.

Relationship Story Signpost 2

Marchbanks objects to Morell that Candida act as a servant in her own home to save money, “But your wife’s beautiful fingers are dabbling in parrafin oil while you sit here comfortably preaching about it: everlasting preaching! preaching! words! words! words!” (Shaw, 1895, p. 523), while Morell pragmatically explains, “Yes: but she isn’t a slave; and the house looks as if I kept three. That means that everyone has to lend a hand” (Shaw, 1895, p. 522).

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Marchbanks becomes sympathetic to Morell when sees the pain he is in, believing he may be losing his wife.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Morell and Marchbanks come up with the idea that Candida must choose between them, not conceiving that she might choose neither.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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