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How does Eliza change in the course of the play, and by what means?Is she any better off at the end of the play?

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Hazem Kourah L5A Mr Mairs How does Eliza change in the course of the play, and by what means? Is she any better off at the end of the play? In George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' Eliza Dolittle is a Covent Garden flower girl who evolves from a na�ve, poverty-stricken girl into a heroine. She is not the heroine of romantic myths but an independent, strong-minded, confident woman, who against the odds has grasped the opportunity for a better life. Higgins, a professor of phonetics, accepts a bet that he can transform Eliza into a duchess and within six months present her at the Ambassador's garden party. We meet Eliza at the beginning of the play as she tries to sell flowers from her basket. She has a strong, cockney accent used by the lower class and when she bumps into Freddy she squeals, 'Nah then, Freddy: look wh' y' gowin, deah.' Eliza is an opportunist. She takes advantage of the fact that she is standing close to the ladies and gentlemen and tries to persuade them to buy flowers. She is dirty and dressed in very shoddy clothes, especially in comparison to the ladies. We learn that when she goes to bed she takes off her shawl and skirt and 'gets into bed without further ado'. ...read more.


Yes Eliza has changed, not only on the outside but also on the inside. She's become stronger, confident and determined without losing her fierce spirit. When Eliza meets Higgins, at his mother's home, she is able to confront him and play at his own game using witty, cutting remarks. She is 'a woman' and tells him, 'I'm not afraid of you and can do without you.' She is prepared to go to her father's wedding 'to shew theres no ill feeling'. Eliza's social status has changed in comparison to her father's. At the beginning of the play she was a poor flower girl and he was a dustman therefore their status was similar. At the end of Act V Eliza is a social misfit and the final outcome is uncertain until Shaw makes it quite clear in the epilogue. Shaw tells us that, despite added luxuries because of her friendship with Higgins and Pickering, Eliza is in the 'retail trade' and therefore working class. In comparison her father, by chance rather than any effort, has risen through the middle classes and by the prologue has become 'fantastically disclassed'. Higgins jokingly recommended him to an American millionaire as the 'most original moralist in England', consequently he was left three thousand pounds a year in the millionaire's will. ...read more.


Eventually he falls in love with his creation and Venus, feeling pity for him, brings the statue to life. The woman is called Galatea and when she is awakened by Pygmalion's kiss she gazes up at him and falls in love. The play's title is appropriate as Higgins is Pygmalion and Eliza his Galatea. At the beginning of the play the audience believe that Higgins, using his art, will transform Eliza into the perfect woman and they will fall in love and live happily ever after but this is not Shaw's intention. He has deliberately chosen the title 'Pygmalion' because he wants to take the romance out of the myth and undo the myth. Higgins cannot transform Eliza by providing her with clothes and an education. After Higgins finishes his 'experiment' she is still a statue. He cannot breathe life into Eliza, she can only do this herself by her own will and desire. I think that Shaw is saying that man isn't the perfect being who can create the perfect female and women are not inferior to men. During the play Eliza changes from a common flower girl to a respected independent, beautiful woman. George Bernard Shaw shows us, through Eliza, that the growth of an independent spirit means changing on the inside as well as the outside. The true ladies and gentlemen of the world are judged by how they treat other people and not by their position in society. 1 ...read more.

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