There are three minor characters in the play ‘Candida’ – Burgess, Lexy and Proserpine.
Burgess, with his cockney dialect and coarse and rough manners is least appealing, even though he is the source of much comic relief.
Lexy Mill does not impress because he has no individuality. He is only an imitator.
Proserpine Garnett or Prossy appeals most as a vibrant character. Proserpine is laborious, efficient and selfrespecting. She is a charming young woman of about thirty. She belongs to the lower middle class. She is representative of the class to which she belongs. She is romantic and ambitious. Like any woman who is easily attracted by handsome men, she gets attracted by handsome Morell. Her love for Morell is mockingly described as “Prossy’s complaint”. It is from Candida that we learn how much she is sacrificing to be near to her subject of love. She is serving Morell on a much lower salary than what she was getting elsewhere. She even does menial work in his home. Morell himself is unaware of her love for him. Even Marchbanks fails to recognise her love as he believes that no woman can love a wind bag like Morell.
She is full of jealousy too. She does not like Morell praising his wife. She tells Lexy that Morell should not always talk of Candida. She is of the opinion that a man should be able to love his wife without making a fool of oneself.
She is intelligent and quick-witted. She is fully aware that Lexy has no mind of his own. She points out to him that he is only imitator. She says that he tries to imitate Morell in whatever he says and does. In her encounters with Burgess, she proves to be quick-witted. She does not tolerate insulting behavior of Burgess and calls him ‘a silly old fathead’.
There is no doubt that she works hard and does her best to satisfy Morell. She works without any complaint. It is seldom that she gets a chance to enjoy good things of life. So, at the supper hosted by Burgess, she takes champagne forgetting her oath of never to touch wine. It is so because a person of her class cannot afford to drink champagne. As she drinks too much, she is intoxicated and makes a fool of herself by talking incoherently, stumbling and striking the door.
Despite her weaknesses, she arouses in us a sense of sympathy and understanding. She should not be taken as a caricature of lower middle class.