Discuss the role of Eugene Marchbanks in Candida ? play of candida by bernard shaw

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Candida by George Bernard Shaw is a typically Shavian paradoxical play in which the initial expectations of the audience are undermined. Eugene Marchbanks is a typical Romantic poet, rather in the mode of Shelley or Byron. He is still quite young, only 18, the nephew of an earl, and absurdly impractical on the surface. He also immediately falls in love with Candida, wife to Reverend James Morell, who appears a typical admirable Victorian, successful, energetic, popular, and active in philanthropy.

Eugene initially appears a sort of Don Juan figure or typical young Romantic hero, effeminate and charming, in contrast with the muscular Christianity of Morrell. Eugene assumes that Candida will end up falling in love with him because of her feminine (maternal, nurturing) instincts which will lead her to want to take care of him. The paradoxical part of his character is revealed as Shaw has Candida choose Morrell because Morrell is actually the weaker of the two men, lacking the clear and distinct sense of self and purpose that Eugene has gained from his devotion to poetry and belief in himself as a writer. Eugene learns from Candida to appreciate his own strength and to see his own impracticality and artistic nature as strengths rather than weaknesses.

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Eugene Marchbanks fulfils the role of the anti-macho hero in the Play 'Candida' by George Bernard Shaw. He almost plays the part of acting as a foil to her husband, showing who, in reality, is the most needy. Eugene looks like the quintessential English Romantic poet with his eighteen year old youthful looks, needy endearing manner, poetic and literary interests and apparently sensitive and vulnerable personality - he cannot even seem to look after himself, being found sleeping rough and brought in out of the cold by Morel. At first this appeals to Morel's wife - until she realises that it is her own husband who is the more needy. Eugene's role is to bring her to this realisation. He is not the 'weakest' after all - his vulnerable appearance belies a confidence in his own talents - and shows up her husband's lack of them.

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