• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What do Eliza and Higgins learn from each other? How does this “education” change them as people?

Extracts from this document...


"You can't take away the knowledge you gave me... That's done you Enry Iggins, it az." What do Eliza and Higgins learn from each other? How does this "education" change them as people? "Pygmalion" explores Bernard Shaw's idea that people should not be limited by the social class into which they were born; that they should have a chance to improve themselves by gaining an education. This is called the "nature versus nurture" debate, which marked a major change in Victorian England. Should we remain in the position we were born into (nature), as was the basic Victorian belief, or can we change our status; establish equality between people regardless of age, gender and race (nurture)? Education is the foundation of these aims and is presented in the play as a way of self-improvement through teaching and training, whether it is academically or socially based. The characters around Eliza treat her with contempt. When Eliza convinces Mrs Eynsford Hill to buy flowers from her, her daughter, Clara says to her mother "Make her give you the change. These things are only a penny a bunch...Sixpence thrown away! ...read more.


This is partly because of his talent at placing accents, and also due to the respect she has for his standing in society. The difference in their reactions reflects Higgins and Eliza's characters. We can see that as Eliza's social skills are more acceptable, (even though her academic and social standing is below Higgins) she draws a more favourable conclusion. It shows that she has a better social awareness than Higgins, so she is able to educate him, which again, encourages equality. The first learning point for Eliza occurred at Higgins's house, where she learned elements of social ritual. Firstly, Mrs. Pearce shows her the bathroom, where Eliza has to get accustomed to the differences in standards of hygiene of the higher classes. She is not used to having a bath. "You expect me to wet myself all over?" she exclaims, when Mrs. Pearce shows her the bathroom. "It's not natural: it would kill me. I've never had a bath in my life" This demonstrates how dirty she is, and how unaccustomed Eliza is with soap and water; hygiene is a major aspect that Eliza learns while staying at Higgins's house. ...read more.


This is a radical change from the beginning of the play, when he was constantly insulting her. He even admits that he has "learnt something from (her) idiotic notions: I confess that humbly and gratefully", showing that he has become more open minded to other people's ideas. The characters have changed on the outside and from within. It is only by having a greater awareness of the world that Eliza could say "...When a child is brought to a foreign country, it picks up the language...and forgets its own. Well, I am a child in your country. I have forgotten my own language and can speak nothing but yours." This shows her knowledge of culture and behaviour, as well as using appropriate language and a total change on her part, which she benefits from. She has undergone a dramatic self-improvement. Higgins has not changed so radically, but has learned "the great secret. (It) is not having bad manners or good manners or having any other particular kind of manners, but having the same kind of manner for all human souls." He has finally learned to treat Eliza as an equal, which is a valuable lesson learnt from her. Both Higgins and Eliza have been nurtured, to become better people, by having a greater academic and social understanding. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. In what ways does Eliza Doolittle change in Pygmalion?

    For example, when Eliza offers Prof. Higgins a shilling for her lessons, he comments to Colonel Pickering that a shilling in relation to Eliza's earnings is about the equivalent of about sixty pounds from a millionaire, which Eliza misunderstands and fearfully thinks is the sum of money she must pay.

  2. The cannabis debate

    The implication is that some heroin use might be prevented by legalising cannabis, even if this meant more widespread cannabis use. (Runciman, 1999) (Drugscope) Gateway factors, where cannabis is seen to be the gateway to other drugs are too small to be a major factor in the debate of cannabis.

  1. A look at two visions of education - education for work and social justice.

    Perhaps one of the reasons we are witnessing a reduction of support for public education, is that so many have passed through the educational process and are now realizing how distant from real life the rituals of education are and some of them are having a hard time forcing their children to go through the exact same process.

  2. My Fair Lady - How is Eliza transformed from a 'squashed cabbage leaf' into ...

    However, Eliza did not have social niceties and had to learn not only how to speak but what to speak about. "Of course she's not presentable, if you suppose for a moment that she doesn't give herself away in every sentence she utters you must be perfectly cracked about her."

  1. G.B Shaw believed that people should not be limited by their birth, environment or ...

    'My character is as good as any lady's' Because she works with the public, she does not have anyone to challenge her place in society & mixes with her social equals, she still has to approach people in a different class but doesn't see it being a problem asking them to buy a flower.

  2. Compare and Contrast 'Overcoat' By Ghulam Abbas and 'The Blue Donkey' By Suniti Namjoshi ...

    Tonga wallas on catching sight of him raced towards him as they thought they would get some business from him as he looked rich, however the young man turned away from them. The young man later on went to a western music shop where he lifted the cover of the

  1. Historical Interpretation of Economic-Social Change

    Toynbee was interested in social reform and was one of the first to use the term Industrial Revolution. He was not a member of any political party and stressed the importance of the Industrial Revolution as a break with the past.

  2. Encouraging change

    Beliefs and practices The main distinction here is between this worldly and other worldly beliefs. Other worldly beliefs, stressing the powerlessness of humans and the inevitability of misery in this world, but salvation in the world to come, provide little motivation to change society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work