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Analyse George Bernard Shaws presentation of transformation and how he explores this in Pygmalion

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´╗┐Analyse George Bernard Shaw?s presentation of transformation and how he explores the notion of identity in Pygmalion Pygmalion is a play based on the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea incorporating many themes and ideas. The underlying themes are transformation and identity. George Bernard Shaw experiments with the feelings of the audience and challenges preconceived ideas. He also makes links between the real self and the ideal self and how authentic our transformations are. In the play Shaw highlights all aspects of transformation and the use of drama and visual impact is why it proves to be quite a powerful play. The audience is taken through the journey of transformation of Eliza witnessing many other transformations whilst on this journey. Another theme included in Pygmalion is the distinction between social classes which was very clear at the time it was written. Shaw wished to highlight these issues and perhaps that is another reason why the play is so effective. Linked to the original myth it was based on, there are also many hints of the characters being ?made? and Higgins completely dehumanizes Eliza. He views Eliza as his own creation and thinks he owns her, ?I have created this thing out of the squashed cabbage leaves of Covent Garden?. ...read more.


?I have to live for others and not for myself: that?s middle class morality.? Shaw focuses on how society is changing and their reactions to the changes that take place. He explored this through two families: The Doolittle?s and The Eynsford Hill?s. The Eynsford Hill family is middle class but is very poor. This is perhaps why Clara is so snobbish. The family is much poorer than some lower class families but retain status mainly because of their name. The Doolittle?s were lower class people and as shown at the beginning of the play were looked down upon. The attitudes towards each class were very definite. The daughter and mother are very reproachful towards Eliza when she is a flower girl and Mrs Eynsford Hill paid her a sixpence because she was worried that her son had been mixing with someone from a lower class. Clara comments ?Honestly Mamma. You could have spared Freddy that? When, however, they meet Eliza who is presented as someone of middle class, they are openly friendly towards her and are very admiring, ?devouring her with her eyes?. This shows that society reacts very differently towards people depending on who they are. ...read more.


He managed to do that, especially near the end in the argument between Higgins and Eliza, the ?creator? and the ?creation?. Both Higgins and Eliza had entirely reasonable claim and the audience were caught up in this tension trying to decide who was right. At various points in the play, the tension was so great that the characters seemed close to violence. At one major point in the play Eliza did actually do this, when she threw the slippers at Higgins. This action had a major impact because it was all the tension and anger that had been building up in the play being released in one moment. Shaw leaves Eliza as an independent woman meaning that she is authentic and has gone through with her transformation. Shaw also decided to indicate that Eliza was going to marry Freddy instead of the fairy-tale expectation where she would fall in love with her creator, Higgins. George Bernard Shaw shows at the end that transformation never stops occurring and that tension is always being caused because of this ?Making life means making trouble?. He leaves us contemplating the many transformations in life at the end of a very thought-provoking play which may have influenced the thoughts of all the people watching the play at the time. ...read more.

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