Shaw's Pygmalion Essay

Shaw's Pygmalion Essay

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Shaw's Pygmalion

Pygmalion can be classified as a comedy. The objects of the comedy
centralize around the people, the ideas and the attitudes. The first
humorous part of the play is with Mrs Eynsford-Hill and her daughter
Clara waiting for Clara's brother Freddy to get them a taxi as it was
pouring with rain. They get annoyed so Clara asks, 'do you expect us
to go and get one ourselves?'. The audience/reader of this play finds
this humorous because the Eynsford-Hills are stereotypical of middle
class people who stick rigidly to their position in society. They
appear fussy and pathetic due to their frustration at not being able
to get a taxi. Therefore seeing how people act in certain situations
and their different attitudes creates the humour. The next part of
humour in this story line is when Eliza's (the flower girl) accent is
introduced. It is the contrast between the Eynsford-Hills accent and
Eliza's accent that makes the reader laugh as in the time when this
play was first performs and written, around 1914, the audience would
have been more used to hearing the Eynsford-Hills accent and so would
have found Eliza's 'strange' accent very strange. For example: -

The Flower Girl [Eliza]: Theres menners f'yer! Ta-oo banches o voylets
trod into the mad.

Mrs Higgins' 'At Home day' causes the audience, once again to see the
Eynsford-Hills as humorous characters because of the way they stick
rigidly to the etiquette that matches their social class position. The
restricted topics of conversation such as health and weather makes the
audience laugh because of the ridiculous restrictively of the
conversation. The number of times 'how d...


... middle of paper ...


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nowadays, due to the ways in which ways of life have changed.
Therefore what modern day audiences would think of as humorous in the
play, the 1912/4 audience wouldn't have thought so, and vice versa.
For example the audience in 1912/4 wouldn't have found the restricted
conversation at Mrs Higgins' 'At Home day' amusing, whilst we, as a
modern day audience, do find it amusing as we are not used to this way
of life and the different sorts of etiquette. Although the themes such
as the social class system are not as defined in modern day society
however certain accents are still discriminated against, in today's
society, and Received Pronunciation is still seen as the preferred way
and the educated way of speaking. I feel that Pygmalion is still
effective in presenting Shaw's ideas even though it is over 90 years
old.

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