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G.B Shaw believed that people should not be limited by their birth, environment or speech. With reference to Act 1 & Act five of Pygmalion, show how Eliza finds her status affected by all of these factors.

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G.B Shaw believed that people should not be limited by their birth, environment or speech. With reference to Act 1 & Act five of Pygmalion, show how Eliza finds her status affected by all of these factors. At the time George Bernard Shaw wrote Pygmalion in 1912, many people were troubled with accents that prevented them from reaching high & in act 1, Eliza's character is an example of this. In act 1, we see how Eliza was very limited by her environment, her job, & her speech by the way that she was treated differently for who she was. The society at the time Pygmalion was written was very set & if you were born into a lower class family, you were not seen as anything better than that. Eliza was a lower class flower girl whose speech was not Standard English & difficult to understand. She came from the slum streets of London & was as clean as she could afford to be but to the upper class people she was 'worthless' & 'dirty'. Higgins was an upper class man who studied phonetics. He was written as someone who believed in the class system & that he should not associate with the likes of 'Eliza' who was 'just a flower girl' & a 'disgrace to the English language'. The play does reflect the society at the time & Shaw incorporated the way people treated other people into the play quite effectively. ...read more.


Pickering sticks up for Eliza & tries to show Higgins that she hasn't done anything wrong. 'Anybody could see that the girl meant no harm'. She shows respect for Colonel Pickering throughout the play. At the end of act one, everyone has judged Eliza on her appearance & speech but she has also judged them. After act 1, Eliza is very persistent with Higgins about his offer to make her into a duchess & by act 5 she has developed into a girl with many more aspirations for life & bigger hopes & dreams than she had when she was a flower girl. But because she has moved into upper class, some doors have now closed on her & she is automatically expected to marry because of her status. Her voice has changed; her appearance & manners have also changed. Higgins has taught her to speak pronouncing words of the English language the way they should be according to Higgins. I feel that Higgins attitude towards Eliza has not changed at all, he still sees her as a flower girl because she was that to begin with but he has love for her in his own way & regards her as special. In her eyes, the way he has treated her is not acceptable & since act 1, I feel she has gained independence to stand up to Higgins. Whilst saying this, she has also lost independence because Higgins could turn around one day & just end the 'game' at any time because all Eliza was to him was an experiment. ...read more.


He still wants credit for all Eliza has been turned into but she thinks the thanks should go to Pickering. 'It was from you that I learnt really nice manners' Eliza has learnt to stand up to a man like Higgins, without him being able to make her feel worse, even though they were in different classes, remembering society at the time was structured & was very difficult to move out of a specific class. Eliza is also worse off by the end of the play because her options have closed on her, & she could never go back to who she was originally no matter how much she wanted to because she is seen as upper class so to be back selling flowers on the street would not be in her character anymore. I think she feels she is better off because she has a lot of knowledge from Higgins, more independence & the upper class status. At the end, just because of the way she spoke & the clothes she wore, she was automatically seen as upper class. She was not born into a wealthy family. She started off as a common flower girl & ended up as an upper class duchess but technically all that happened to her was that she was taught how to be a lady. So this proves that throughout the play Eliza's status was affected by her birth, environment & speech in a way that it completely changed the way she was judged by other people in the space of six months. Pygmalion Coursework Elisa Dickinson. 11DB ...read more.

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