Do the texts wide sargasso sea and pygmalion seem to present a straightforward contrast between male figures of authority and passive women ?

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Do the texts wide sargasso sea and pygmalion seem to present a straightforward contrast between male figures of authority and passive women ?

The two texts being referred to , in answer to the question are the play Pygmalion by

Shaw, and the novel Wide Sargasso Sea by Rhys. Each piece of literature will be discussed

individually, with any distinct contrasts between the two noted.

The first text is the play written by George Bernard Shaw , Pygmalion , in 1912, and the two

main characters being considered are that of Henry Higgins , and Eliza Doolittle. From the

play, we can glean a lot of information about these characters , their attitudes, morals , beliefs,

physical and mental attributes , basically everything which makes them , to the reader or audience,

more human.

A play has the bonus in that much can be given about such points in the stage notes,

something which Shaw was very particular over . The directions given to the actors help to

illustrate their moods and behaviour , as it is written as a guide, rather than as part of the

story line  .

Looking more closely at Higgins’ character, it can be easy to ascertain if he is a male figure

of authority. His appearance and character are described in the stage notes to act 2 , which

become clearer throughout the act. It states he is a bully, and can be petulant. His manner is

robust and direct, and upon meeting Eliza in his house he becomes abusive , referring to her as

baggage. This shows he is somewhat dominant and arrogant. Bullying and directness are factors which make up a dominant character .

Shaw portrays Higgins as a man who says aloud whatever he is thinking  with no care of

peoples' feelings around him . Everyone is subject to his bullying, which shows he has a definite air

of authority and wants, enjoys , being in charge of any situation .

Shaw shows this well in his conversations , especially with Mrs. Pearce and Mr. Doolittle where he

harries them along so he can have his say .

Higgins is portrayed as a typical dominant male, until the appearance of his mother in Act 3 .

During this scene Shaw shows the reader the one person , whom Higgins doesn't boss or bully .

Maybe it's to show where Higgins gets this trait from , or to prove he is not totally overpowering of

everyone .

Authoritative people like to pick up on peoples mistakes , often making them an exaggerated

example . This is also true of Higgins. The best scene being the slipper incident where he makes a

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much bigger point of Elizas' actions, especially when relaying story to his mother, than perhaps

Elizas' reasons why she acted so .

Also , he  never seems to notice mistakes in himself .During act 3 his mother asks him to behave, he

merely reiterates this to Pickering, as if Pickering is the person who needs such advice , and not

himself .

The dominant male is usually so arrogant in himself to only do things which serve his own

needs, and again Higgins does this . The while notion of ...

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