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My fair lady - To what extent do the character, personality and views of Higgins dominates the play and its other characters?

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To what extent do the character, personality and views of Higgins dominates the play and its other characters? Like Higgins, Shaw always insisted on the last word, so he wrote a 21-page "sequel" to Pygmalion describing Eliza's marriage to Freddy and why she couldn't have married Henry Higgins. Of course the reason is obvious, a consummation would have been a disaster: Higgins is far too old, a confirmed bachelor and far too much of a dominating man. However, Higgins thinks that the fool Freddy isn't good enough for Eliza; Freddy is a nonentity singularity when you compare the overbearing verbal presence of Higgins. "Overbearing" in the sense that Higgins dominates the play and everyone in it, even though it is not really his story. And also overwhelming, as he uses language as a weapon with which to get his own way, to dominate, and even to batter anyone who disagrees or questions with him, for example he disarms and even entertains the crowd in Act one with his remarks on where the geographical homestead of the people are, even Eliza is bowled over by Higgins's imitation of her cry (Ah-ah-ah-aw-aw-aw-oo). ...read more.


In Eliza's case Higgins is dominating, not because he doesn't want to be close to Eliza, indeed in the end he admits that he is fond of Eliza, but he is in loco parentis as a teacher, has a paternal right (for 5 pounds) to "improve her mind" with "a lick of strap", and as he freely admits himself he would be as harsh as 3 fathers in Act 1, when Eliza complained of his dominance. In the last act he casually offers to adopt her, as his daughter so therefore for all the reasons above this proves that his intentions lies in him wanting to be a strict "father" figure in replacement to Alfred's own lack of parental obligation, and so his need for dominance and trying not to make Eliza conceited, instead of being accused deliberately hurting her sensitivity. Higgins is a brilliant phonetician and linguist; Eliza passing the bet in the Embassy Ball proves that Higgins has not only traversed the "phonetic stream," transforming one polar opposite dialect into another but liking his job at the same time, he admits that he is fortunate in making a living from his hobby and as he says himself when Eliza asked him why he did the experiment, Higgins answers "Why, because it was my job". ...read more.


Higgins says that, "My idea of a lovable woman is somebody as like you as possible. I shall never get into the way of seriously liking young women: some habits lie too deep to be changed." The irony is that even though he has no doubt that he can transform Eliza, he takes it as a given that there are natural traits in himself that cannot be changed. He views the changes to himself in regard to speech or phonetics change, in an single minded and almost chauvinistic viewpoint regarding them to be the overriding importance. However I believe the true dominance of Higgins is the fact that Eliza has changed both in character and personality, when Eliza threatens to become the Frankenstein monster and usurp his dominance by teaching phonetics, he threatens to wring her neck, although moments later he has reinterpreted the rebellion as a triumph of his creative power, "By George...I said I'd make a woman out of you and I have." So the play is dominated by Higgins, especially with Higgins having the last line, "Pickering! Nonsense: she's going to marry Freddy. Ha ha! Freddy Freddy!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!" PHILIP XIU 11SK 1 ...read more.

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