The Effect of Invention and Innovation on Conformism

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Throughout history, iconoclasts have played a vital role in transgressing society’s self-imposed boundaries, expanding individual perception past prejudices of society. Such revolutionary ideals embed themselves throughout many of literature’s greatest works, essentially forgoing society’s previous prejudices in lieu of a new, revolutionary perspective. Such works serve as an impetus for the spread of further revolutionary ideals, allowing for a continual renewal of society’s central beliefs or a cyclic cleansing of society’s perceptions. Shaw’s Pygmalion and Brecht’s Galileo attempt to rebut ideals of their time by centering around the triumph of radical subjectivity, in the form of invention and intellectual property, over society’s contemporary dogma.

In Shaw’s Pygmalion, the dialogue of Eliza Doolittle results from various changes in intellectual property. Higgins and Pickering initially believe that dialect results from social class. Higgins demonstrates a standard reaction to flower-girl of the proletariat, while Pickering’s treatment of Eliza is more uncommon. Pickering treats Eliza as a member of upper-class society. Higgins treats Eliza as his creation; an object whose reasoning he determines. Higgins’ steadfast behavior results in a conflict between him and Eliza, as presented in their argument: “Higgins: [Eliza] won my bet! [Eliza]! Presumptuous insect! I won it” (Shaw 50). Higgins does not give any credit for Eliza’s hard work during the party. Pickering’s behavior is equally unyielding but opposite that of Higgins. The main difference between Higgins and Pickering is in the way they view Eliza as a human being. Pickering never considered Eliza as an object of intellectual property: “[Pickering’s] calling [Eliza] Mis...

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...hose who enforce intellectual property and those who resist it.

Radical notions manifested themselves throughout Shaw’s Pygmalion and Brecht’s Galileo. Brecht embodied radical ideals in the form of Galileo Galilei’s vast scientific discovery, whereas Shaw manifested such ideals in Higgins’s experiment in transgressing societal divisions. Both works are symbolic of the age-old clash between radicals and society, the continual clash between sweeping reform and adherence to widely accepted ideals. Higgins and Galileo represent the resistance to society’s long held prejudices and biases, and their ideals face vast opposition and rejection from society. It is evident from this analysis that both Shaw’s Pygamlion and Brecht’s Galileo attempt to rebut contemporary dogma through their depiction of radical ideals prevailing over society’s flawed perceptions and prejudices.
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