Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw Essay

Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw Essay

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"Pygmalion" by Bernard Shaw


The word 'benefit' is defined as; 'a favourable or helpful factor or
circumstance'. Many benefits are not immediately recognised, as they
can be the result of something bad. In the play 'Pygmalion', by
Bernard Shaw, Liza gains many benefits, but also disadvantages from
her relationship with Higgins. Looking at benefits, she receives some
beautiful clothes; 'I'm to have fashionable clothes' (p. 63), a good
place to stay and financial ease. She meets other friends such as
Freddy; 'I'll marry Freddy, I will' (p. 131), and she has permanent
companions. However, though she has learned good speech with Higgins,
she has not learnt manners, and is treated almost like an animal. She
is unhappy for a while, and is used by Higgins greatly. But was it
worth it for Eliza to have spent any time with Higgins? Do the
benefits outweigh the disadvantages?

Throughout her time with Higgins, Eliza immediately became financially
viable. She has all the clothes she could ever need, and has her
jewellery hired for her. She is always supplied with ten pounds; 'the
Colonel thinks you should never go out without ten pounds' (p. 110).
This enables her to get taxis when she likes, and to do things without
worrying that she hasn't enough money. Her association with Higgins
also provided Eliza with a place to stay. She could stay at Higgins
home for however long she wanted; 'Eliza, you are to live here' (p.
45). She also, of course, receives lessons on how to speak like a
lady, although she does pay for those; 'I won't give more than a
shilling' (p. 39). She learns pronunciation, and grammar, and of
course is being taught by one of the best English linguists around at
that time. Thirdly, Eliza gains co...


... middle of paper ...


...e case financially, but good friends and a
better husband than Freddy may have been the result of staying on the
streets 'soylin' voylets'. We can see that Higgins impression on Eliza
has changed; in Act One being 'you squashed cabbage leaf' (p. 27)
through to Act Five 'I can't turn off your soul' (p. 127). He
considers her more of a human being by this time, and this may have
proved to her benefit in later life. Eliza, however, realises the
strange equality between herself and Higgins, beginning in Act One
'I've a right to be here, same as you' (p. 27) through Act Five 'I
have been brought up like him using bad language' (p. 121). This may
suggest that Eliza proved almost as much of a benefit to Higgins as he
did to her. In my opinion, this relationship benefited both
characters, and without this occurrence, their lives would not have
been so fulfilled.

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