I enjoyed this play very much. The characters were well developed and I loved the character of Eliza, she was very personable. It left you wanting Eliza and Higgins to get married. It was well written, though he did not use apostrophes in conjunctions at all. Over all it was excellent and I can see why it is a classic, I loved it as much as I do the movie version, My Fair Lady. I am a big fan of Cinderella stories.
There was a scene in the play in which Professor Higgins is experimenting to see how Eliza will do around others of high society and if she can fool them. She does an excellent job of this except for a few times. Once when she refers to her aunt’s death, she asserts that Eliza’s family “done her in.” The visitors however do not understand this phrase so Higgins quickly plays it off as being the new small talk. They believe him and think Eliza to be very up to date. The daughter even leaves saying “such bloody nonsense” believing that to be fashionable small talk as well. This was interesting because it really could have been “the new small talk”, I say lots of things that my mom doesn’t know or used a different word. For example she says going steady when I say going out.
I found the title to be very interesting. It is in reference to the Greek myth. Most readers will assume that Eliza and Henry Higgins will marry after the story is over, and when you read it you want them to get together, but Shaw never clearly states that they love each other. George Bernard Shaw always got irritated when audience members that had seen the play wanted him to end it with the two main characters in love. In the original movie they actually changed the ending so that Henry and Eliza are together. However Shaw’s reaction proves that he clearly wanted them to stay separate as the ‘creator’ and the ‘creation’. Why then did he name it after a story in which the sculptor falls in love with the statue?
I wonder if it was because he wrote it so that his lover the actress could play Eliza but he did not want her to act as though she loved another on stage and possibly kiss the actor playing Higgins.
I found it very interesting that this play was the classic Cinderella story that everyone always enjoys. It is the story of an average girl being completely transformed into a high class lady. Of course this is accompanied by the part that everyone always loves, where she gets all dressed up at the end in a beautiful gown with diamond jewelry. There are many stories and movies today that have this same aspect such as Pretty Woman and Princess Diaries and many, many others.
The Title Pygmalion is symbolism; it is in reference to the Greek myth of the sculptor falling in love with his creation. It is symbolic towards the relationship between Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle.
When Higgins first agrees to teach Eliza and have her stay there with him, Mrs. Pearce (the housekeeper) is unhappy with this and asks him what his plan is for her after he has made her into a lady. This is the same point his mother, Mrs. Higgins, brings up later. Both of these are foreshadowing because later, after she is indeed transformed into a lady, Eliza herself questions what is to happen to her.
In the beginning of the play upon seeing Eliza on the street Professor Higgins says, “Well sir, in three months I could pass that flower girl off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.” This also is foreshadowing because he later does just that.
Publication Information October 17, 2008
Pygmalion was published in 1916. It was performed at His Majesty’s Theatre in London and there it was well received except for the repetition of the word bloody (this was the first cursing in a play performed there ever). In 1938 it was made into a movie in which it followed the play exactly. In 1964 it was adapted by Warner Brothers into the more widely known movie My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn. This was actually directed by Jack Warner himself. This however followed the play extremely closely with the exceptions of a few extra lines here and there and some added scenes. These differences are seen by the title being changed to My Fair Lady as opposed to Pygmalion.
“Remember that is your handkerchief and that is your sleeve. Don’t mistake one for the other if you wish to be a lady in a shop.”
I found this quote to be very funny because I can relate to it. Every week my sister and I go horseback riding, and when we do she carries a handkerchief with her to pat her face when she sweats. I always tease her and call her a pansy for using her handkerchief when she has a perfectly good sleeve. She says it is ladylike that way but my response is always that she is on the back of a horse, be a real cowgirl!