Pygmalion and My Fair Lady are a modern parallel of the story of 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's "Pygmalion" is Henry Higgins, professor of phonetics, who, comes upon a homely flower-girl selling flowers in the streets, makes a wager with Colonel Pickering that in three months he can so transform her as to pass her off for a lady. To Higgins, this is but a task that he accomplishes, a wager that he wins; but in Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl, a new personality has been created. With the manners and speech of a lady, she cannot fall back into her old life, and with those ways has come an asserting will, which selects Henry Higgins, her "creator," as her mate. To Higgins' dismay, he finds that his "laboratory case" has surged into all his life, with emotional entanglements he had not anticipated.
Throughout most of civilization, people have been divided into social classes. In a lot of different especially capitalist cultures there is an upper class rich, powerful and in control. Then there was a middle class, less comfortably off than ...
... middle of paper ...
...ian royalty at that, merely by altering her appearance and speech. The wealthy are so superficial they can not see past Eliza's appearance.
On a deeper level, Pygmalion addresses the social ills in England at the turn of the century. Victorian England was characterized by extreme class division and limited, to no, social mobility. Language separated the elite from the lower class. In Pygmalion, Eliza's dialect inhibits her from procuring a job in a flower shop; Pygmalion is about the universal truth that all people are worthy of respect and dignity, from the wealthy nobleman to the beggar on the street corner. The difference between a common flower girl and a duchess, apart from appearance and demeanor, is the way she is treated. Treat the flower girl as if she were a duchess, worthy of respect and decency, and she will become a better person as a result.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The play, Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw is about a phonetics expert who makes a bet that he can pass a Cockney flower girl as a duchess in the matter of a few months. This girl, Eliza does achieve the transformation, but at the expense of a familiar life in the gutters, and risks being caste off into the world with nowhere to turn. This play explores many themes, has extensive use of symbolism, interesting tonality, irony, and the play itself is an allusion to ancient Greek mythology. The major theme in Pygmalion is class.... [tags: Pygmalion Essays]
831 words (2.4 pages)
- Pygmalion is one of Bernard Shaw’s most famous and beloved plays, which he published in London in 1912. This play was written during the Edwardian era which was characterised by major political, social and economical changes. Politically, the reign of king Edward VII witnessed a relative involvement of social segments such as labourers and women in political life. Socio-economically, the British society was marked by a strict and a clear-cut social class system in the early twentieth century. During this period and up to First World War, it was believed that 1% of the British population owned approximately 70% of the country’s wealth.... [tags: class differences, ancient greek]
1422 words (4.1 pages)
- In the today’s society, people are looking for what type of emotion completes them; the emotion is love. Love is the type of emotion that is difficult to explain. When love as an emotion is lost, that person also feels lost, ultimately changes themselves complete. There are several ways in which people change and/or react to such emotions. For example, some react in anger and others react in depression. In 1912, a play written by George Bernard Shaw talked about this same nature of love. Shaw wrote the play, Pygmalion, due to said reaction.... [tags: play background, love]
1119 words (3.2 pages)
- Comparing Pygmalion and My Fair Lady Through the years, countless film directors have adapted and recreated various novels and plays to make them ideal for the big-screen. In many cases, directors strive to keep their screenplay adaptations true to the original literature; however, viewers often find contrasts in certain areas of the film. George Bernard Shaw, author of the play Pygmalion, who had passed away prior to the production of My Fair Lady in 1964, therefore, he could not assist in the transition from play to musical.... [tags: My Fair Lady Pygmalion Compare Contrast Essays]
1023 words (2.9 pages)
- Both Educating Rita and Pygmalion explore significant themes and social issues, how effectively do you think these two playwrights dramatise these issues. 'Educating Rita': A play written by Willy Russell in the eighties and 'Pygmalion': A play written by Bernard Shaw in 1914 both effectively explore significant social issues and relate to significant themes. To successfully answer the question of how effectively the playwrights dramatise the issues raised, the use of settings, dramatic devices and characterisation will have to be taken into consideration.... [tags: English Literature]
1509 words (4.3 pages)
- People are always in the pursuit of erasing their flaws and becoming what society would say is "perfect." In the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw the main character Eliza Doolittle was not content with her life and her lamentable speech and manners. In order to become what she considered "perfect" Eliza relied on Higgins to change her into a proper and sophisticated woman. Higgins pounded lessons of proper speech and how to conduct one 's self with eloquence into Eliza 's head minute after minute and day after day.... [tags: George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, Woman]
1068 words (3.1 pages)
- George Bernard Shaw is known by many as the most significant English playwright since the seventeenth century. He wrote fifty-seven plays in his lifetime, and a vast majority of them were revolutionary in their themes. On July 26, 1856, George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland. Shaw was the first son of his parents, George and Lucille, but had two sisters upon his arrival. Although they lived in Ireland, the Shaws were Protestants and George Bernard was baptized in the Church of England; however, he was never very religious and never enjoyed attending church.... [tags: essays research papers]
1931 words (5.5 pages)
- "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.... [tags: Pygmalion Bernard Shaw Essays]
1085 words (3.1 pages)
- Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw's father, George Carr Shaw, was an alcoholic which meant not much money was spent on Shaw's education, therefore he was mainly self-taught, since he was self-taught he never had ideas forced upon him, this caused him to turn into a strong minded individual who expressed his opinions. He was a socialist and a critic who believed strongly in equality. Shaw wrote many plays, which expressed his opinions, one of the most famous being Pygmalion.... [tags: Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw Essays]
1237 words (3.5 pages)
- Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion The passage taken from Act 2 of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion marks a critical turning point in the plot line and character development of the novel. The characters of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, who have met earlier by mere coincidence, have now deliberately begun a relationship, due to various motives. Eliza wants to move up in the hierarchy of society and Henry wants to prove his talent to Colonel Pickering. The extract is significant because it initiates a long learning process for Eliza and because Henry changes the next six months of his life, if not the rest of it.... [tags: Bernard Shaw Pygmalion]
1100 words (3.1 pages)