Candida is another notable play by one of the greatest dramatists of English literature, Bernard Shaw. Shaw’s plays mark a milestone in the history of British drama as they show a movement away from romanticism to realism. They are plays of ideas. They not only provoked readers to think but also helped them notice the humour and irony of situations that were ordinarily taken for granted, and to delve below the surfaces of refinement to examine some of the pleasant and unpleasant truths of human existence. Candida has relevance to the topical issues of feminist liberation and ‘the woman question’ that were gaining prominence at the time. Anyone who was trying to gain an independent place in the community was called a ‘New Woman’. The play highlights and brings to the fore the utter absurdity of a situation wherein a woman is tempted to run away with frivolity and instability in opposition to a well-positioned home and family environment and a down-to-earth stable spouse. The play ends on the expected note: Shaw’s Candida chooses the latter option.
This AC Ward series from Orient BlackSwan has been now enhanced and enriched with additional student-friendly features such as analyses of themes and characterisation, act-wise summaries and questions and also a select reading list. We hope that these value additions will help maintain the popularity that the series has long enjoyed with teachers and students alike.
AC Ward was the original editor of all of Bernard Shaw’s plays and is a well-known expert on the drama of Shaw.