“Pygmalion”is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological figure. Pygmaliontells love story between an artist and his women sculpture. The idea of hisplay was such a popular subject of Victorian Era English playwrights. Forexample; Pygmalion and Galatea byW.S.
Gilbert. It also represents as PygmalionReversed in 1871. “Pygmalion” isa play, which is adapted to the present age. It tells about phonetics professorHenry Higgins takes in a flower girl named Eliza Doolittle. He re-creates Elizainto a lady by teaching her elocution. The play starts on the street one night,Eliza sells flowers, and Henry meets Eliza. Henry Higgins bets ColonelPickering who is interested phonetics at least Higgins, that he can teach herelocution and pass her off as a lady. After lots of objections, Eliza agrees totheir experiment.
Unless Eliza turns out a lady, Henry still behave her as aservant. After all she runs away and seeks her independence. In the followingessay, I will discuss themes of “Pygmalion”such as, Class, Gentility and Manners, and Myths of Creation.
“Pygmalion”is a character-rich play, that Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, ColonialPickering, Mrs. Higgins, Mrs. Pearce, Freddy, Clara, and Mrs. Eynsford Hilltake roles. Henry Higgins, a phonetics professor is forty-year-old handsomebachelor. Higgins is violently enthusiastic about anything scientific, but heis absolutely uncivilized in his relationships such as relation with ElizaDoolittle.
Eliza the same person as Liza a poor girl who was thrown out by herparents as soon as she was old enough to make a living selling flowers on thestreet until Henry finds her for his experiment with Colonial Pickering.Colonial Pickering is an Englishman who had been in India and wrote aboutlinguistics there. He behaves Eliza with utmost kindness. Against ColonialPickering, Henry treats Eliza as a servant and it Mrs. Higgins, Henry’s motherso disappointed.
That is why, she takes Eliza under her wing. “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw includes severalthemes and conflict inside that are Class, Gentility and Manners, and Myths of Creation.As Class, we see a conflict between upper class Aristocrats and lowerproletariat. Henry Higgins, and his family. Colonial Pickering take roles asupper class community. On the other side, Eliza Doolittle and her relationsrepresents the proletariat region.
Henry’s behaviors to Eliza clarify thediscrimination of the classes. He asks his sleepers, uses her for cleaning andmarket needs. At the end, Mrs. Higgins returns dressed for the wedding, and shetakes Eliza with her.
Higgins asks her to run his errands for him, includingthat of buying some cheese and ham. That moment, she understood that, it istime to say bye. Then, she runs away.
The class discrimination has become clearat this stage. Gentility can improvable way of behavior, that Professor Henryis an exemplary gentleman. Manner is a part of soul. It can’t get withpopularity, fame or wealth. At thispoint, Henry’s treatments are out of ethic and manner. He could be a gentleperson, but this is not an excuse. As I mentioned before, he is absolutelyuncivilized in his relationships. Pygmalion has the most referencesto Greek and Roman mythology.
Higgins represents Pygmalion, a Greek sculptor. Pygmalioncreated a sculpture of a perfect woman and fell in love with it; after heprayed, Aphrodite brought it to life for him. This statue is named Galatea, andit is represented in Shaw’s play by Eliza. Unless the play not ends with amarriage like the myth. “Pygmalion” mentions class differences from thebeginning to the end of the play. Eliza Doolittle is poor flower girl thatchange into the lady. She has morality and manner more than the ladies. She hasto change her view only to become a real lady.
THE FLOWER GIRL. She isno doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she isvery dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leavessomething to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist. (1.29)She becomes alady, and she show off why Henry choose herself. The reason is Eliza completelyperfect as Galatea. She is more than a lady, less than badness. Inconclusion, “Pygmalion” is a play byGeorge Bernard Shaw that adapted by a myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.
In themyth, Pygmalion is a Greek sculptor. When first prostitute exist on earth, helost his interest to the women. Then he makes his perfect masterpiece Galatea.In a short time, he felt into love her. One night, he sacrifices for Aphrodite.When he comes back home, he sees that, Galatea is alive. We are much morerealist to not believe alive sculptures.
That is why, Shaw adapts it to presentconditions. Henry and Eliza. They do not get marry maybe but the reader takesall pieces of the myth. The play teaches us, man prays until he gets it, andmorality is not comes with wealth. Equality is a lie of modernity. But we stilllive in hope.