G. B. Shaw's 'Pygmalion'

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Like all of Shaw's great dramatic creations, Pygmalion is a richly complex play. It combines a central story of the transformation of a young woman with elements of myth, fairy tale, and romance, while also combining an interesting plot with an exploration of social identity, the power of science, relations between men and women, and other issues. Pygmalion is one of Shaw's most popular plays as well as one of his most straightforward ones. The form has none of the complexity that we find in Heartbreak House or Saint Joan, nor are the ideas in Pygmalion nearly as profound as the ideas in any of Shaw's other major works. It can be considerated an issue of language. This play was written by George Bernard Shaw in 1912, presents a comic Edwardian version of the classical myth about Pygmalion, legendary sculptor and King of Cyprus, who fell in love with his own statue of Aphrodite. At his prayer, Aphrodite brought the statue to life as Galatea. George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion is the story of Henry Higgins, a master phonetician, and his mischievous plot to pass a common flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, off as a duchess at the Embassy Ball. In order to achieve his goal, Higgins must teach Eliza how to speak properly and how to act in upper-class society. The play looks at middle class morality and upper-class superficiality, and reflects the social ills of nineteenth century England, and attests that all people are worthy of respect and dignity. Shaw is a British socialist who sympathized with the lower classes. Shaw criticized that the way of speaking of a person reveals his the social class of the people. Shaw’s Pygmalion is Henry Higgins, a voluble professor of phonetics, who undertakes in a wanger with his colleague Colonel Pickering to turn a cockney flower-girl, Eliza Doolittle, how to speak English in an upper-class manner and transform her as to pass her off for a lady. In one sense she is the very antithesis of Galatea, since she starts a child of nature and ends an artefact. Nor is Higgins ever allowed to acknowledge to himself that he might fall in love with her. But another sense runs counter to this. Eliza’s transformation is more than from a common girl to lady. Higgins begins with what is to him no meant, and eventually has to acknowledge his creation as an enjoying and suffering woman.

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