Character Sketch of Eugene Marchbanks in Candida

Eugene is the most interesting character of the play. He is a perfect thwart to Morell. He is a young rebel, a romantic lover and an excellent poet. Although he is only around eighteen years of age, yet he has been portrayed as one having immense maturity level. He is slight and shy. He has a childish way of speaking. He has got a shrinking manner and tormented expression. The last act of the play tells the reason about his being so. Through Candida, the spectators learn that he has suffered from years of neglect and had led a desolate life. Only his old nurse had given love and affection to him. The spectators get shocked to learn that his father starved him to make him agree and return to Oxford. He was forced to live without food and roof.

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He is highly sentimental and unrealistic. Morell regards his love for Candida, who is almost twice his age, as a calf love or motherly love. In his love for Candida, he forgot that she is a married woman. He is horrified with “the poetic horrors” when he learns that Candida scrubs the floor and lights the paraffin candles. His illusions of a world where he lives with Candida and there are no chores, is filled with poetic charisma. Morell titles his world as that of ‘idle, selfish and useless’ to which he retaliates and titles as ‘beautiful, free and happy’.

He is not physically strong but has got immense emotional strength and maturity. He brings out Morell from his illusionary world about importance of his addresses and leading a happy married life with Candida. He challenges the usefulness of his preaching.

He is a moral person deep in the heart. This is shown when he is left alone at home with Candida. He reads out his poetry to her. He shields his yearning of physical intimacy with Candida. Romance redirects his soul and refines it. Candida’s behavior forced him to change himself.

In the climax, he appears to be an altogether different person. He is not shy or weak anymore. He faces Morell boldly and forces him to ask Candida to choose between the two of them. Upon getting rejection from Candida, he turns pale but does not retaliate and accepts the truth and leaves. He becomes a changed person.

He has been portrayed as an unconventional character. He pays no heed to the generally followed traditions, customs and code of conduct. He is a person of modern outlook.

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