My Personal Response To “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw

In the play “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw, we see a similar, if not identical storyline to “My Fair Lady”. In both playwrights, we see how a highly respected professor/gentleman decides to help a loss class woman get off the streets and become a member of the high society by teaching her how to become proper through grammar, vocabulary and etiquette lessons as well as basic everyday gestures.
Although the storyline portrays the ideals of “an ugly duckling becoming a beautiful swan”, there is much more which the naked eye might not perceive. The Victorian Era in which it takes place shows much more about a human’s natural sense of protection and needs to “do the right thing”, which in modern time is something I believe we have lost thought of. We as a race have become greedy and self-absorbed, forgetting that most people that are on the streets, in poor houses, etc. are not there by choice, but by lack of guidance and morale of society.
We can use Skid Row, for example, this is one of the poorest areas in the entirety of the United States of America. Originally starting off as a city area where the homeless could find shelter and somewhat comfort has now become overthrown by gangs, homeless people and erroneous propaganda. How did it get this bad? The decline of this sector comes from the huge increase in unemployment rates in the country, and since many people are badly educated or not educated at all, in most cases they aren’t even given the chance to get a job to pull themselves out of the “slums”.
We see a great representation of this when Eliza wanders the streets she once was from after having a large argument with Professor Higgins about her integrity and morals.
Another topic that is largely shown throughout the play is “self-respect”. This all begins in the first few minutes of the play when we see Ms Doolittle trying to sell flowers to the people around her and someone makes a comment about Professor Higgins writing down what she says (her method of selling merchandise by making others feel pity for her, therefore pushing them to support her in whatever way they can to feel as though they have done “a good deed”). Later on, we see it when she enters Professor Higgins’ home and is questioned by him about her means to pay as well as her true hunger for improvement whilst the “maid” of the home attempts to persuade Professor Higgins to listen to her and not throw her out. The most important and shocking scene where we see this is near the end of the play when the professor and Ms Doolittle get into an argument at night when he questions her character and integrity accusing her of stealing his things or attempting to whilst he sleeps for which Ms Doolittle at this point in time comprehends her worth and chooses to leave that night and show herself the self-respect which she has deserved for herself the entire time.
In my opinion, this play is a great example, especially for young women or women of all ages about growth, self-worth, respect and overall, values. It taught me the true meaning of how it does not matter what is on the outside, but it is within you what truly makes you, “you!”. So, in better use of words, I loved this play, it made me smile, laugh and even cry a little bit, but all those emotions came from truly understanding what it means to be human and what society has become versus what it should be.

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