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Pygmalion. Bernard Shaw was trying to show the people of the early twentieth century that if they tried hard enough then they could also be successful like Eliza.

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Introduction

Matthew Jump 10D The writer of "Pygmalion", George Bernard Shaw, was born in Dublin in 1856 and died in 1950. Bernard Shaw based "Pygmalion" on a Greek myth about a sculptor who made a statue of his ideal woman and prayed to the Greek Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, to make the statue turn into a real woman. This was Eliza in the play. Bernard Shaw was trying to show the people of the early twentieth century that if they tried hard enough then they could also be successful like Eliza. At the beginning of Act 1 Eliza was on the street trying to sell flowers to passers-by. The Lady and her daughter were outside St. Paul's church, which was protecting them from the rain, which was coming down so hard and fast that they could hardly see anything through it. They were talking about a taxi and wondering where Freddy was, as he had gone to find a taxi about twenty minutes earlier. Eliza was walking towards the two women when Freddy came back without a taxi. The two ladies ordered him to go and find a taxi or he would be in trouble. As Freddy was leaving Eliza walked into him and then began talking to the two ladies. ...read more.

Middle

The other main difference dealt with in the story is the one between Mr. Higgins and Pickering who are both of the same class and wealth. Pickering is shown to be a kind, caring man whereas Higgins is self-centred which was not unusual in the upper classes of that time. Eliza, Higgins and Alfred Doolittle are the major characters in the play all the rest are minor, less memorable than those three, as they are not individualised in the same detail. Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle, was shown as a typical man in the early 20th century as when Higgins first takes on Eliza to change her into a real lady. Doolittle (as he was referred to in the play) tries to sell his daughter, Eliza, to Higgins as he was desperate to try and gain some money as he was poor, or has he referred to himself he is a spokesman for "the undeserving poor". Shaw has made the character attractive and amusing, whereas a realistically presented drunkard who beat up his daughter and cared nothing for her and who preferred blackmailing gentlemen to earning money by working, would very probably be repugnant to us; or, if treated sympathetically, would be a pathetic or even tragic character. ...read more.

Conclusion

His energy comes across very strongly, through his restless physical movements; the swift and ready movements of his mind enable him to outwit others and get his own way all the time; through his verbal readiness and fluency; and, not least, through the assertive vigour of his style of speech with its swift twists and turns, it exaggerations, and its constant use of slangy expressions or striking and usually comic metaphors and similes. It is possible to see Higgins as Shaw's satirical portrait of himself, and to see the Professor's cat-and-mouse game with Eliza, in Act V, as a reflection of the dramatist's evasive flirtation with Mrs Patrick Campbell, the actress who played Eliza in 1914. In so far as Higgins stands for Pygmalion, the artist, he must also represent the dramatist, whose play is the product of a creative process and will, when finished, stand independent of him. The laughing figure of Higgins then stands at the end of the screen version like the signature of the author, or of his Muse of Comedy. This is not a book that I would usually read as I like horror stories but all the same it was very interesting and I can now understand why he is such a famous writer. I used to think that he was a bit like Shakespeare who has wrote plays that do not appeal to my age range but I may well read another of his books in the future. ...read more.

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