Summary of Candida by G. B. Shaw


The play is a serious comedy. It is a domestic play having common aspects of day-to-day life. It doesn’t possess any hero-heroine story or an adventure or magic story etc. The play has been divided into three Acts. It starts in the morning & ends on the night of the same day.

Act 1 (in the morning)

The play opens in the morning. It is October. James Morell is going through the letters that he has just received. Prossy is sitting beside him & is typing letters.

James Morell has been invited by Huxton Freedom Group, a part of Communists to address them on Sunday. He cannot accept the offer because on Sunday he has to deliver the speech at Churches, so he asks Prossy to search for a day on which he is not engaged.

Prossy tells him that on 28th he has been invited by a renowned company for dinner. Thus he cancels the dinner & decides to do to Huxton Freedom Group.

Just then enters Lexy. Morell tells him that he is going to pick up his wife from the railway station at 11:45 am, who is coming back for two days.

It appears that the children are suffering from some infection. She is coming to take warm clothes for them. Morell suggests Lexy get married to a Candida-like girl.

Lexy tells Morell that Burgess (Morell’s father-in-law) is coming to have a private conversation with him. Morell is surprised as Burgess has not come since last three years after some fight.

He goes out. Prossy tells Lexy that she doesn’t like the over-praising of Candida by Morell. He used to say, “Candida here, Candida there & Candida everywhere.

Lexy accuses her of jealousy of Candida. As Lexy is about to leave Burgess enters. Morell also comes back. He offers his handkerchief to Lexy. Burgess doesn’t like this.

Initially, he says to Morell that he has forgiven him but seeing the anger of Morell, he asks him to forgive him. After the initial exchange of words, it becomes visible that he has come to him as he has heard about his upcoming promotion. He considers it boon for himself & his business.

While they are talking, enters Candida. Morell regrets forgetting to pick her up from the station. She tells that Eugene (a young boy of 18) was with her. Morell goes out to pay the fare to cab-man.

He brings Eugene with him & introduces him to Burgess. Burgess upon learning that he belongs to the royal family welcomes him & offers him to join him for dinner & goes away as he has to catch the train.

Candida goes to see & amend the situation of the house. Eugene tells Morell that he loves his wife & doesn’t like the way he (Morell) behaves with his wife He also says that he will free Candida from his slavery.

Morell drags him in anger & asks him to leave his house. Just then enters Candida. She inquires about the matter but can’t get it. She asks Eugene to stay with them until lunch.

Act 2 (in the afternoon)

It is the afternoon of the same day. Eugene is sitting alone in the room. Finding the printer idle, he meddles with it. Prossy comes back. She blames him for meddling with the printer.

After some discussion, Eugene says that she is in love with Morell & insists upon it till she confesses it. Just then enters Burgess. He says to Eugene that he must have been bored with the typewriter. At this, she calls him “Old Silly fathead”. Burgess complains to Morell, but he doesn’t take it seriously.

As dinner would be served after a couple of hours, Morell gives some illustrated papers to Burgess to read. Candida is busy filling paraffin in lamps.

Seeing this, poet blames Morell for making her do such odd jobs. When Prossy asks Candida to slice onions, Morell experiences “poetic horror”. He compliments Candida in his poetic language but Candida breaks all his illusions.

He goes with Candida to slice onions. Burgess goes out to smoke. Morell says to Prossy (just to tease her) that she should not have blamed Burgess.

She bursts into tears & rushes out. Candida comes to Morell & tells him frankly that Eugene is in love with her. She also tells him that Prossy is in love with him calling it “Prossy’s complaint and that people hear him as he delivers lecture nicely but does just the opposite of his advice. So she asks him to not spend so much time in delivering lectures.

Morell is shattered with such response from Candida. Lexy enters. He asks Morell to get ready to go to Church. He denies. Candida regrets saying so to Morell. She insists that all will go with him to hear him in the Church. But Morell asks her & Eugene to remain at home. She protests but cannot succeed.

Act 3 (in the night)

Eugene is reading poetry to Candida but she is in deep thoughts. Eugene brings her back to senses. She asks Eugene to rather talk to her. Eugene says that he likes to say her name again & again as it is his prayer.

While they are talking, enters Morell. He tells that he has delivered his lecture splendidly. Lexy, Prossy & Burgess come. Lexy & Prossy thank Burgess for offering them such a great supper. All leave.

Candida goes to send Maria to bed. Eugene taunts Morell. Ultimately it is decided between the two that Candida must choose one of them. Candida enters. She inquires about the matter.

Morell asks her to choose one of them. She decides to remain with her husband as he can’t live without her. Eugene goes out saying that he has some secret in his heart so he is satisfied although Candida has rejected him.

Play ends.