Does Eliza Become a Lady in In George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’

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George Bernard Shaw who was born in Dublin in 1856, was a renowned play writer and a talented platform speaker. He is most famously known for his successful play ‘Pygmalion’ which was widely accepted as one of the most noted comedies of the time. It was written two years before the 1st world war, at a time when society was divided and the poor were severely disadvantaged whilst the rich were idle and blindly living their life, unconcerned about the affairs of others. At the time, Britain had thriving economy and it was a successful country because of its industry, trade and empire. The poor lived without basic facilities such as electricity and water. George Bernard Shaw was a firm believer of equal rights for women, he took part in the meeting of the suffragettes and campaigned on their behalf. The suffragettes helped women to gain the vote and Shaw raised public awareness for this issue by revealing his opinions in the press. Shaw was also part of a movement which believed that individuals could attain a higher social status than that they were born into and this could be accomplished by people educating themselves and this transformation would be a true reflection of the person’s social class. This concept is outlined and explored in Pygmalion, in which Eliza Doolittle is passed off as a duchess at the end of the play. This was in contrast to the belief of the Victorians who were of the opinion that classes could not be alternated in a person’s life. Shaw also held the opinion that education was very significant and that educating people would lead to a more sophisticated and fair society. As in ‘Pygmalion’, Eliza transforms from a simple flower girl and at the end of the play, she is able to pass herself as a duchess. ... ... middle of paper ... ...class from being a flower girl to a middle-class woman, despite this she has not succeeded in becoming a lady because this would require marrying a lord or better and she would need to properly act like a lady in how she behaves and in her speech. However, Mr Higgins believes that Eliza has become a lady because of her improvement of speech. Eliza also fooled everyone at the ball into thinking she was a princess and she has adjusted her behaviour, speech and conduct with other people so in modern times, she has become a lady. Works Cited 1. date accessed: 28/11/09 2. date accessed: 28/11/09 3. date accessed: 28/11/09
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