Candida is Morell’s wife and mother of their two young children. Shaw explains that “she possesses the double charm of youth and motherhood. 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. ” She deeply loves her husband Morell, but is quite taken with Eugene Marchbanks’ naive, poetic nature.
“This comes of James teaching me to think for myself, and never to hold back out of fear of what other people may think of me.
The Reverend James Mavor Morell – Morell is a mature man, well-established in life, and husband to Candida. He is a Christian Socialist and clergyman of the Church of England. Shaw describes him as “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 practiced orator, and with a wide range and perfect command of expression.
” These people forget I am a man: they think I am a talking machine to be turned on for their pleasure every evening of my life. ” Eugene Marchbanks – Shaw states that “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 the painful sensitive of very swift and acute apprehensiveness in youth. ” This young poet is madly in love with Candida, an affliction that torments him throughout the play.
We all go about longing for love: it is the first need of our natures, the first prayer of our hearts; but we dare not utter our longing: we are too shy. ” Mr. Burgess – Shaw states that Candida’s father has been “made coarse and sordid by the compulsory selfishness of petty commerce, and later on softened into sluggish bumptiousness by overfeeding and commercial success. He is a vulgar ignorant guzzling man. ” Burgess is a businessman always eeping an eye out for his own advancement. “When I pay a man, an’ ‘is livin depends on me, I keep him in ‘is place. ” The Reverend Alexander “Lexy” Mill – Lexy is a young curate chosen by Morell as his assistant. He is a well-intentioned, enthusiastic novice. He idolizes Morell, and tries to be just like him, and although he isn’t very successful at it, he has won Morell over by his “doglike” devotion. “I try to follow his example, not to imitate him. “Miss Proserpine “Prossy” Garnett – Shaw tells us that she is “a brisk little woman of about 30, of the lower middle class… notably pert and quick of speech, and not very civil in her manner, but sensitive and affectionate. ” She is secretly in love with Morell, and jealous of how he constantly gushes over Candida. “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. “