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Pygmalion Essay – Appropriationof a Key Text from the Past.

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  • Essay length: 1850 words
  • Submitted: 03/08/2003
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GCSE Sociology

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Pygmalion Essay - Appropriation of a Key Text from the Past

Appropriation of texts has occurred for centuries, as stories have been adapted to contemporary situations that are relevant to its audience. The Myth of Pygmalion is one such case. George Bernard Shaw and Garry Marshall have taken the ancient Myth of Pygmalion and transformed it using language, form and values to reflect the context of their times. The play Pygmalion appropriates characters, social context and values to present the transformation of Eliza Doolittle from a flower girl to a lady whilst Pretty Woman uses filmic devices to present Vivian's transformation from a prostitute to a rich woman.

In George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, the artist figure of the Myth is represented by Henry Higgins, now transformed into an enthusiastic phoneticist. This is appropriate to the social context of the time, as an individual's speech determined their social class and status. Like a sculptor, Higgins moulds Eliza into his image of an ideal middle class woman by changing her speech, hygiene and social etiquette.

The play confronts serious issues that were present in England during the early 20th century. Poverty and class divisions are presented in a

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