G.B Shaw As a Dramatist : Candida

The greatest among the modern dramatists was G.B Shaw. He was a myriad minded genius. At first he tried his hands at novel but he did not get any encouragement and success. He reached and became a socialist. And no wonder in 1884 he joined the Favian society. Shaw was specially impressed by Butler’s dissatisfaction with the Darwinian theory of natural selection. Shaw came to believe in the life force which Butler described as the mysterious drive towards greater power over our circumstances. What is more Ibsen and Wycherley’s deep influences could be seen in the plays of Shaw.

Shaw wrote his plays with the deliberate purpose of propaganda. He prepared the minds of the audience by writing preface to his plays which are far from convincing than his plays. As his plays are concerned with the ideas, Shaw is a staunch enemy of sentimentalism and no wonder he endows his characters with subtle wit, humour and other fine elements. Shaw’s frankness sincerity, his skill and his stage craft along with his awareness of the social problems shot him into great limelight. What is more, Shaw is a biologist, a sociologist and a great economist. As a biologist he thinks that the creation of a child is the most scared work of all and as a socialist he demands that all works should be suitably remunerated. Marriage, Shaw thinks, is a lifelong companionship for sexual enjoyment rearing of children and for keeping the joint employment of property. Sex is a matter of moment but marriage is an organization for life. Shaw is neither a sensualist nor a puritan but a biologist and for him sex is not a taboo, it is a part of life experience, a necessary part of human growth.

Shaw‘s plays are almost entirely devoid of sentiments. Shaw is out and out or realists and in his plays he has touched upon all the social and varied problems of society. But interestingly, Shaw faces with the problems rather than faces it openly and boldly. In his plays “Getting Married” Shaw discusses the problems of marriage. In “Philanderer”(male flirt) he discusses the questions of marriage and also with the grotesque social compacts in which advanced people evade marriage laws. In “The Apple Cart” Shaw discusses political problems and in the play “On The Rock” Shaw returns to the subject of democracy. “Heart break House” is different from other plays of Shaw.

There are only two plays where Shaw has made sentiment, one of the principal theme for discussion in “Pygmalion” and “John Bull’s island. But Shaw was at his best in his plays “Major Barbara” and “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”. In “Candida” Shaw attacks the economic system of society in its greatest and most popular institution marriage. Marriage is founded on the base of sexual contact between man and woman and the economic slavery of the latter St. John is regarded as one of his best play. In most of his plays Shaw’s attitude is realistic. In “Arms And The Man” , “Widower’s House” and “Getting Married, Shaw has presented the realistic picture of life, society and marriage. Shaw is really the architect of modern plays. He is a satirist and he displays his wit in his plays. He is very critical of the social evils of our life and he has severely expose the weakness of our society and has tried to present the realistic picture of life. He is without a shadow of doubt one of the pioneers of the modern problem plays.


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