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Changes in Eliza in Pygmalion

Changes in Eliza in Pygmalion

Before Eliza first encountered Mr. Higgins, she was simply a dirty, yet caring girl in the gutter of London. During her time with both Mr. Higgins and Colonel Pickering, Eliza did change, for the fist few weeks of her stay in Wimpole Street, she questioned everything that Higgins asked her to do, and generally couldn't see how they would help her. Later, Eliza begins to understand that Higgins, as harsh as he is, is trying to do his best to teach her, and therefore should be respected. After the ambassador's ball, we see more of the old Eliza resurfacing. She starts to worry again, and since she has grown attached to Higgins and Pickering, is devastated to see their finding her so trivial. Eliza's basic character remains relatively unchanged. We can still observe the old Eliza, under the upper-class persona. The play, "Pygmalion" brings out the message that looks can be extremely deceiving, while touching on the issue that self presentation really does change the way people look at you.

Act I of the play first introduces the reader to the rich of London. The author, Bernard Shaw, uses these well moneyed citizens to display the contrast between them and Eliza. In this act, Eliza has yet to be introduced to the world of the rich, and is portrayed by Shaw as in innocent dreamer. Eliza is concerned for her own safety, in making sure that it was know that she only wanted to sell a flower to the gentleman. She is persistent in a kind way; the reader sees this when she tries eagerly to sell to the gentleman without change. It becomes apparent that she is very poor, and needs success from her flower selling to live a life at all. Eliza shows great pride in her line of work, and that she stays above the law, not resorting to illegal prostitution or stealing. The introduction of Higgins taking down Eliza's speech gives the author a further chance to display Eliza's will to stay innocent and good. Another way that Shaw shows us the real Eliza is in the way that she starts crawling over the dirty ground to locate the money thrown down at her by Higgins.
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