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

"Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw. What are some central themes of the play? List a few and explain at least two in detail.

Extracts from this document...


What are some central themes of the play? List a few and explain at least two in detail. Pygmalion is a comedy written by George Bernard Shaw about two phonetics experts and a lower class girl who has a Cockney language and wants to learn to speak correctly and proper. As the story develops many themes arise. Such themes are: class, myths of creation and language, these of course are the main central themes, but there are many others. Class is one of the most important themes of the play because Shaw demonstrates how the hierarchy in Britain is. The author integrates people from all kinds of classes: from the lowest to the highest, Liza being lowest and Higgins and Pickering being the upper class. ?THE NOTE TAKER: You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. ...read more.


Since Shaw is a socialist author, manners were no importance to him because it divided the classes and this is demonstrated, in the book, by Professor Higgins, who has the tendency to treat everyone like dirt, no matter to what social class this person belongs to he treats him the same way. ?LIZA. I know. I am not blaming him. It is his way, isn?t it? But it made such a difference to me that you didn?t do it. You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and soon), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she?s treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.? This example is important since Shaw describes the difference of good mannered people and bad mannered and how it has an effect on people. ...read more.


This is an example of change and creation in a way. Professor Higgins takes the challenge in creating another class type woman which is quite an achievement and his cockiness reminds us how successful he was when Eliza went to the dance party and shocked everyone. Compared to the myth it is quite different because towards the end of the book Eliza does not fall in love with Higgins, not that we know of but she does develop affection towards him. In conclusion I can say that the themes of the play relate with the real life of Britain in those days and it is a reflection of it. The way that Bernard Shaw demonstrates how society was in those days with the class borders and the different kind of people clearly showed us that people really cared about what other people thought of them back in the day. The main themes of the play due involve all of the characters and how different they are, in the different scenarios of the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

    L�vborg in response agrees with Hedda as he realizes it too. This quotation brings up the theme of courage versus cowardice. Act 2 - L�vborg: "And then she is so brave, Mrs. Tesman!" (Page 192) - In this quotation L�vborg attempts to make Hedda jealous as he praises Mrs.

  2. My Last Duchess. The Last Duchess is a dramatic monologue written by Robert ...

    an equal to people lower than him in the social hierarchy, which angered him. However at the end of the poem, we see the extent of his hypocrisy and double standards, which is manifested in the form of irony- we see that the Duke has all along been comparing the

  1. Hamlet Journal - rewriting key passages from the play

    That means he can have you murdered. Are you seriously mad, because I know you acting mad right now but does it really transmit to you actually being insane? This is such a risky move. The host told you he is guilty but what happens if the ghost isn't who you think he is.

  2. How and why George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-four used Winstons memory as the drive ...

    Winston was very confident of his ability to memorize and to recall back that when O'Brien, through psychological manipulation, refers to Winston's memory as a false, it shattered his determination terribly. "You preferred to be lunatic, a minority one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston." (Orwell, 2008, p.

  1. Comparing Pygmalion with the film My Fair lady

    Moreover, the characters feelings and emotions are equally able to be transmitted to the reader and viewer even though they are in different ways. In Shaw's version, readers can interpret Eliza's fear through the dialogue. Similarly, in the film, viewers have the ability to watch Eliza's facial expressions and body movement to understand her emotions.

  2. Othello - A Racist Play?

    personal envious vendetta against Othello, or as some theorists suggest, a subconscious love for Othello himself. Brabantio Desdemona?s father Brabantio is a Venetian nobleman, and Desdemona?s father. He learns of his daughter?s marriage to Othello from Iago, who plants ?the seeds of doubt? by inciting several prejudices in him.

  1. How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and ...

    speaks and immediately Higgins places her in a lower social position than his and considers her as an inferior. Thus we see how Shaw critiques social discourse, nature of inequality in itself and the superficial issues of his time. This essay is an attempt to discuss how on one hand

  2. Social Distinction in the novel Pygmalion

    The author cleverly bestows his characters? their own identity, by giving each a language and speech that suits their bubble of reality: their own social class. Shaw depicts members of all social classes, the lowest being Liza, known for her London?s working class cockney accent.

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