Pygmalion Themes 1

Pygmalion ThemesPygmalion Themes: Class

It is a common reality in Britain and it is fascinating to see it in the play of a socialist playwright. Shaw covers all social classes, from the lowest to the highest, Liza to servant class, Mrs. Pearce and the middle class to Doolittle after his inherit to the genteel rich, the Eynsford Hills, Pickering, and the Higgins. It is generally believed that class structures should be rigid and cannot be altered. This is why Liza’s class mobility is so shocking.

Language is closely tied to class. Higgins’ ability to determine where people are born by their accents speaks volumes about the importance of this issue. British identity and class are tied to their homeland and birthplace. It is difficult to socially move if you have an accent that marks you as being from a particular place.

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Shaw shows how the different classes are distinguished by using different theme in Pygmalion. Shaw demonstrates the main differences between the upper and lower classes. These were the clothes and manners of each person.

Act 1: A bystander comments upon Henry Higgins’ clothing by saying that his boots are nice and Henry is of a higher social class. This shows how one can tell the difference between classes by simply looking at the clothing of an individual. The difference between the classes was also evident in language.

Henry Higgins states in Act 1 that “You see this creature, with her kerbstone English. The English that will keep she in the gutter until the end of her lives.” “Well, sir. In three months, I could pass that girl off to an ambassador’s gardening party.” Henry says that Eliza was of lower class just by the words she used.

He believed he could change her speech to make her appear higher-class. This shows that one can tell the difference in class based on what they wear and how they speak.

Shaw illustrates the theme of Pygmalion through the interactions between people from different classes. The book showed a separation between classes. A good example is the Higgins family, which saw lower classes as unworthy of interaction.

Act 1: Henry Higgins tells Eliza Doolittle that he heard Eliza make depressing and disgusting comments about his mother. Keep in mind that you are a human being who has a soul and the divine gift to articulate speech. And don’t croon like a bilious bird. Henry considers Eliza’s words to be lower class.

This is clearly not something he likes. He said that a woman who speaks like this should not be allowed to live. This is how Henry, a man of higher social status, saw the language and customs from the lower classes. Henry doesn’t want to have anything to do with the lower classes and believes they aren’t worth his time. Shaw explains his views on the social classes and why Victorian England was wrong . Shaw explains himself by using themes in Pygmalion such as the class theme.

Shaw used Eliza’s transformation and that of her father to prove a popular belief that people are born into certain classes and cannot change. Act 4 shows Eliza’s transformation. Colonel Pickering remarks on Eliza’s transformation by saying that Eliza was doing it so well. It’s not easy for many people to do it: They think style is innate to those in their positions. This shows that Eliza, who was of lower class, was able use her language to communicate with people of higher classes.

Shaw believed that people from the lower classes could rise in class. They just had to learn how to present themselves better. Social classes and proper manners are the main theme of Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw. This idea is present throughout the book.

Shaw begins by comparing the classes at different times, then he shows how people from different classes interact. He then showed how the beliefs of those at the time were incorrect. This is done by showing Eliza transform from a low-class flower child to a person of higher class. Shaw argued that Shaw’s book was about Victorian England’s social class views and their wrongness.

Pygmalion Themes: Manners and Gentility

At this time, good manners or any manners were usually associated with the upper classes. Shaw’s position regarding manners is a bit unclear. As a socialist, it would seem that he would not have time for them as they are a marker class divisions.

However, Higgins’s approach of treating everyone as dirt is less democratic than Pickerings’s. Pickering treats everyone as a duke and duchess.

 Pygmalion theme of manners It’s a touching moment at the end Pygmalion, when Liza thanks Pickering and points out that she wouldn’t have learned them otherwise.
Pygmalion Themes: Prostitution and Marriage

These institutions are closely related in Shaw’s plays, particularly Mrs. Warren’s profession. Shaw seems to be free to decry marriage as an exchange for sexuality, despite the fact that he is a celibate husband.

Ironically, her father doesn’t regret letting Liza take up this career, but it is she who denounces it. She claims that she was not as degraded as a flower seller as she was as a “genteel” lady trying to marry the right man.

Pygmalion Themes: Myths about Creation

Pygmalion is Shaw’s most famous play. It has the most references Greek and Roman mythology. Higgins portrays Pygmalion. He is a Greek sculptor who lived by himself because he was afraid of women. Pygmalion made a sculpture of the perfect woman and fell in love. Aphrodite then brought it to life after he had prayed.

The statue is called Galatea and is depicted in Shaw’s play Liza. Shaw’s play doesn’t end with the couple getting married, unlike the myth. Liza is furious at Higgins’s suggestion to her that her success is his success, and that he made her who she is. She also tried to reclaim her identity.

Pygmalion ThemesPygmalion Themes: Language

The language theme is closely linked to class in this play as well as in British society. One can usually determine the origin of a person’s accent and often what their socioeconomic background are by looking at their accent. Poor people are considered to be poor for their accents. Higgins’s teachings, which disrupt this social marker and allow for greater social mobility, are quite radical.

Speech and word choice are just two of the many features used by the author to illuminate social distinctions. Shaw’s play Pygmalion depicts language and social class in a variety of ways. It also includes characteristics of characters as well as major themes. Shaw’s characters can symbolize the interplay between language and social classes.

To portray various aspects of class divisions, the author uses different characters and theme. The art of speech was a key tool in revealing England’s social classes. People have always been divided into classes throughout history. There are the powerful and wealthy, the middle class, who are respected but less powerful than the poor, and the incapable.

Author cleverly gives his characters their own identities by giving them a language and speech that fits their reality. Shaw portrays people from all social classes. The lowest being Liza, who is well-known for her London-based cockney accent. The middle class (Doolittle, after his inheritance), to the genteel poor [the Eynsford Hills] to the upper classes (Pickering & the Higgins’ families).

The upper classes were known for their correct articulation of the English language. Although the articulation was correct, it didn’t have to be perfect. This is what the author shows through Mr. Higgins. He was well-articulated and rich, but his speech delivery was not as genteel.

Shaw, however, is a symbol of the idea that language and speech are intertwined through Pygmalion Mr. Higgins who is a professor of phonetics and speech. Higgins excelled at his hobby and job. He was able to identify where people were born, as well as their class, based on their accents.

The author said, “I can place any man within six mile.” He can be found within two miles of London. Sometimes, he can be found within two streets. “Not only are characters through their speech a true representation of their class but also other factors.

The main plot of the story, Eliza becoming a duchess, was the trigger for the creation of the British social classes. By focusing on the fairytale outcome of the flower child’s speech, the author discovers in Pygmalion how to make words become action. He draws our attention to his art and his ability to create through speech not only Pygmalion’s Galatea but Pygmalion as well.

Higgins offered to help Eliza to become a lady in order to win a wager, but he didn’t realize the implications. Higgins wasn’t used to living in a working-class environment and was unaware of the place Eliza would find herself in.

Pygmalion Themes: Professionalism

The idea of female professionals at the time this play was written was quite new. In Pygmalion theme of professionalism  used to paint women in a different light. Apart from prostitution, women used to be housewives in pre-war times. There is still resistance to the idea that females could enter traditionally male professions through the play.

Pickering initially is horrified at the idea that Eliza would open a flower shop. Being involved in a trade was considered a sign of being lower class. Pickering feels similarly shaken after watching Eliza fool everyone at a dinner party and garden. Pickering is frightened by the idea of a professional female socialite.

Pygmalion Themes: Gender Solidarity and Antagonism

Shaw uses this theme to emphasizes gender loyalty in this play, even though British society is supposed not to be divided along class lines. Although Mrs. Higgins is initially horrified at the thought that her son might bring a girl-flower to her home, she soon comes to be sympathetic with Liza. She is the first woman to express concern about Liza after the experiment.

It’s the idea that her training renders her unmarriageable for anyone on any social scale. Liza leaves Wimpole Street to run away, but she knows instinctively that Mrs. Higgins will take care of her. Higgins’ mother, Liza, supports Liza before her son. Higgins does not reveal that Liza is at the house while Higgins dials the police.

Shaw, on the other hand, portrays relations between people of opposing genders as antagonistic.
Higgins has a difficult relationship with his mother, and so does the professor and Mrs. Pearce. Freddy and Liza seem to get along well, perhaps because of his passive, feminine demeanor.

Eliza, who is now a lady, finds it difficult to fit in with the upper classes. She hates the day Higgins asked her for lessons because of her complete anger at her new character. This is evident when the author says, “Oh! It would be great if I could go back to my flower box! What made me give up? Like her father, Eliza realizes that class mobility can change one’s identity. Shaw believes that people can improve their lives even if it means changing their character. It is not surprising that the difference in a lady from a flower girl lies in her treatment rather than her behavior.

Shaw successfully depicts the differences in social class and appearance. The book’s description of each character’s appearance is a testament to the author’s dedication. This is because appearance plays an important role in indicating one’s class.

Higgins describes Eliza as a common beggar at the beginning of the play. This is based on her speech and dress. Higgins is used by the author to show how rich people perceive the poor through their appearances and speech.
Eliza transforms when she has her first proper bath and wash. This happens, naturally, without Eliza saying a word. Even her father was shocked at her transformation.

This is evident when the author says: “: Beg Pardon Miss. Eliza: Garn! Do you not know your own daughter? Alfred: Oh, me! It’s Eliza. Shaw uses language and appearance to show how the working class was not used to the luxury of the upper classes.

The play ended with the trend of judging one’s class based on his speech. Higgins, without knowing anything about Doolittle’s alteration judge Doolittle’s class based on his appearance when he speaks to the maid. This is what the author said when he called Doolittle “Doolittle!” Are you referring to a dustman? Maid: Dustman! Oh no sir, a gentleman”.

The way the wealthy viewed the poor indicated the large gap in society and the arrogance of elite rich. The author finds a clever way to show England’s social classes through speech support.

Shaw uses speech interchanges to indicate his social class and focuses on his main theme while also creating an identity for his characters. Many accents used by characters were a clear indicator of their class. Characters’ appearances and transformations also indicate class distinction. The author found a way to make speech an eye-opening matter that was being used throughout history.