Personal Response: Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion encompasses social class to show how the gap between the rich and the poor can be easily manipulated. Shaw had used his character, Eliza Doolittle, as a main representation of the working-class during the 20th century. Aside from Eliza Doolittle within the movie, many poor men and women were living in central London. People worked hard for food and cared less about their appearance since appearance had little benefit towards their survival if they were poor. There was manipulation with Eliza since she was changed due to another person’s wealth, not because of herself. Although Eliza worked by selling flowers, she was still a poor working-class woman, she had a job that made little to no money, jobs like this were common for the poor. If a poor person wanted to become wealthy this want was nothing more than hope.

Belief in social class and one’s social manners to be true can be undeniably false within Pygmalion. Someone’s class can be changed by changing their manners and their behavior to being proper. Eliza became a ‘proper’ woman, meaning she changed her accent, behavior, manners, and appearance to appeal to those wealthier. She had changed not because of herself but because of Professor Henry Higgins who found it an amusing challenge to change such a poor woman. Higgin’s being a wealthy middle-class linguist had the knowledge and the wealth to change everything about Eliza Doolittle. He changed her cockney accent to an upper-class English accent. I find it surprising that one’s accent during the 1900s could distinguish their class, it just shows how the idea of status changed people.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply