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Examine the personality of Eliza Doolittle and show how she changes during the course of the play My Fair Lady.

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Introduction

Stephan Seiler English Coursework Minimum word count: 450 Actual Word Count: 1,029 English Set 3 Mrs. Short Draft 3. Examine the personality of Eliza Doolittle and show how she changes during the course of the play. George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion parallels some aspects of the classical myth of the same name. Higgins created the Duchess version of Eliza Dolittle in a similar way in which Pygmalion created Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of the statues he created. With the help of the Gods, Pygmalion married the statue once it had been brought to life. In the play Higgins creates a new woman out of Eliza by changing her appearance and the way she speaks. However, although some aspects of her character change, most of her personal qualities remain the same. At the beginning of the play, Eliza is described, as a woman who is, "Not at all a romantic figure" Wearing shoddy clothes, with hair that clearly needs washing, and, "Teeth that needs the services of a dentist" And her face that also needs washing. ...read more.

Middle

This is a huge contrast to the Eliza that the audience met in scene one. Her transformation is complete. The way society can be fooled about Eliza's social origins shows that Shaw is mocking the way society judges people by their accents and not by their personalities. However many aspects of Eliza's character stay the same. She always values her character and she has always been concerned that she has a good name. She says: "He's no right to take away my character. My character is the same to me as any lady's." Eliza still retains these qualities throughout the play. Eliza also changes a lot throughout the play. At first, she is seen as an uneducated, unclean and cockney woman selling flowers on the corner of streets. Then, slowly and painstakingly she turns into a better figure. At the end of the play, Eliza feels very used and is devastated. She is also furious that now the experiment is over, nothing is to become of her. ...read more.

Conclusion

These changes show the importance of education and equality of opportunity. At the start, the audience feels that Eliza will marry Professor Higgins, just like in the myth where Pygmalion marries Galatea. But after reading the epilogue, you find out that they do not marry. Eliza ends up marrying Freddy. Freddy has Eliza for support to a degree. This is where Shaw is trying to provide women watching with a strong role model to follow. This play was written in the same period as the Suffragette movement, which Shaw was in favour of. To sum up, the character of Eliza Doolittle comes across as being much more instrumental than fundamental. Especially when she decides to make a statement for her own dignity against insensitive treatment. This is when she becomes, not a duchess, but an independent woman; and this explains why Higgins begins to see Eliza not as a mill around his neck but as a creature worthy of his admiration. ...read more.

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