Pygmalion Plot Summary One rainy evening in London, two gentlewomen, a mother and a daughter, are waiting for Freddy, the son and brother of the pair, to hail a taxi.
The title of the play is based on the story of Pygmalion, who was a character in Greek mythology who fell in love with a beautiful statue he had created. This statue eventually transformed into a living person called Galatea.
However, Shaw adapted this myth to tell the story of a lower-class, flower girl, Eliza Doolittle who meets the phonetics professor Henry Higgins. On a dare, this professor endeavours to transform Eliza into an upper-class lady through adapting the way she speaks. Ultimately, Professor Higgins successfully changes the way Eliza behaves and speaks and transforms her into becoming a member of the aristocratic class.
Firstly, through Higgins and Eliza and their teacher-student relationship Shaw highlights the inherent problems within the British Society of the Early Twentieth Century. It raises awareness towards the rigid gender roles where high power and gender inequality was valued.
Consequently, it is no surprise to the reader that the one in power, with education is the upper-class white male whereas Eliza, the lower-class flower-girl is subordinate to him and other men within the play.
However, despite the presentation of gender inequality being prevalent in this play, the issues that stem from this are much more important to discuss. By focusing on speech and accent Shaw comments on the capacity for the individual to overcome the boundaries established by the patriarchal ideology and to expose the absurdities of this class-based society.
Additionally, this allows Shaw to reflect upon the pretences surrounding the question of social acceptability and worth.
When Eliza acquires the right accent she becomes a figurehead of society.
As a result, her linguistic inequality that rendered her socially inferior is eradicated, thus changing her societal position and her past, present and future life. However, the ending reminds us that no matter how one artificially changes themselves, Eliza and the reader, live in a capitalist society — one that makes the acceptance of social mobility almost impossible.
However, this grammatical blunder is overlooked and reminds us that although accent operates as a social determiner, money and wealth will always work better because class is and always will be based primarily on the divisions of socio-economic status, on money.
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Consequently, Shaw is stating that money will always have the ability to break down the barriers of class and make those inferior and unacceptable to the aristocracy, acceptable and welcome. These gender and class issues are highlighted and at times undermined by the witty comedy throughout the play — one of the things that make it so brilliant.Pygmalion- The Greenhouse Theater Center- Language lovers rejoice for Shaw's most enduring and endearing critique of high society at the turn of the century.
When Eliza Doolittle volunteers as the subject for Henry Higgins' exciting social experiment, the optimistic flower girl opens the door to a world more fierce and complex than the dirty London streets.
Once in Higgins' house, Eliza is subjected to intensely repetitive phonetics lessons in an effort to transform her Cockney accent into the speech of proper English%(17). Pygmalion is the famous story of phonetics expert Henry Higgins and his bid to transform the impoverished flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a society lady.
From Henry’s attempts to iron Eliza’s resilient vowels and colourful vocabulary into a more refined shape, Shaw creates brilliant comedy, as well as an engaging and provocative examination of class and women’s independence. His attempts to transform the poor flower seller, Eliza, into a Duchess for the day are both a triumph and a personal disaster; for the bachelor-professor comes to depend and perhaps adore his student, whilst the student surpasses her teacher and arrives not just at an understanding of society but of the role of women in that society.
Jan 20, · The play hinges on a wager: Higgins, a phonetics expert, makes a bet with a distinguished colleague, Colonel Pickering (a pitch-perfect Paxton Whitehead), that he can transform Eliza, a cockney flower girl, into a duchess in three months.
The Spirit of Pygmalion. One of the greatest challenges for organizations and their leadership in our modern era is the ability to develop and realize the full potential of the people who are responsible for managing, sourcing, developing, delivering, distributing or .