Pygmalion. By George Bernard Shaw. What do these stories have in common?. Pretty Woman. She’s All That. Stewie teaches Eliza how to lose her accent. Why the title?. Playwright George Bernard Shaw adapted a Greek myth, “Pygmalion” into his own modern story. Pygmalion: The Original Myth.
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Pygmalion By George Bernard Shaw
What do these stories have in common? Pretty Woman She’s All That Stewie teaches Eliza how to lose her accent
Why the title? Playwright George Bernard Shaw adapted a Greek myth, “Pygmalion” into his own modern story.
Pygmalion: The Original Myth Pygmalion was a sculptor from Cyprus who had no interest in the local women. He found them immoral and frivolous. Instead, he concentrated on his art until one day he ran across a large, flawless piece of ivory and decided to carve a beautiful woman from it.
Pygmalion: The Original Myth • When he had finished the statue, Pygmalion found it so lovely and the image of his ideal woman that he clothed the figure and adorned her in jewels. He gave the statue a name: Galatea, sleeping love. • He begged Aphrodite for a wife as perfect as his statue. She took pity on him, and allowed Galatea to come to life.
Pygmalion (play) Themes • Roles of the Sexes:What does it mean to be a “lady” or “gentleman” of society? • Class Distinctions: What purpose do they serve? How are they maintained? • Manners: Important or ridiculous? • Personal Identity: Is one what society perceives one to be or something controlled by the self? • Speech: What does it say about us?
Characters • Henry Higgins - a phonetics expert and a scientist who loves anything that can be studied as a scientific subject. His enthusiasm for the study masks his human qualities. • Eliza Doolittle - an uneducated, streetwise Cockney flower girl. Her intelligence allows her to recognize her self-worth and the worth of others. • Alfred Doolittle - Eliza's father, "an elderly but vigorous dustman..." who can borrow money from his most miserly friends. Doolittle describes himself as "the undeserving poor". • Mrs. Higgins - Henry Higgins's mother, kind, sympathetic, understands those she encounters well. She is the gracious lady of the house.
Characters • Frederick Eynsford Hill - Eliza Doolittle's young suitor from the upper class. Freddy shows complete devotion throughout the play. • Miss Clara Eynsford Hill - sister of Freddy, very comfortable in society, though without the wealth to actually support the lifestyle. • Mrs. Eynsford Hill - mother of Freddy and Clara, very socially conscious and interested in those people her children associate with.
PYGMALION – CHARACTERS • Nepommuck - Henry Higgins's first language student, adept in several languages. • Mrs. Pearce – Henry Higgins housekeeper, a practical, proud woman. Mrs. Pearce is not afraid of Henry, but conscious of her middle class status. • Colonel Pickering - An acquaintance of Higgins who has lived in the British Colonies in India and become very adept at the Indian dialects. Pickering becomes the caring, kind voice in Higgins scientific experiment. He views Eliza Doolittle as a person worthy of respect.
Influences on Shaw (the author) • The outbreak of war in 1914 changed Shaw's life. For Shaw, the war was a tragic waste of young lives under the guise of patriotism. • He expressed his opinions in a series of newspaper articles but he was treated as an outcast, and there was even talk of his being tried for treason.
Shaw’s Ideology • Shaw believed in socialist ideas. He thought capitalism wouldn’t last, and wanted to help the working class achieve rights. • He went on to revolutionize the English theater by concentrating his writing on various social issues at a time when most other playwrights were writing sentimental romances.