Pygmalion Personal Response

After watching the movie and reading the book Pygmalion I was quite surprised. I had actually watched a newer rendition of the movie three years ago but at the time I didn’t know it was Pygmalion. Previously, I had heard of the tale of Pygmalion, but the movie and book do not feel like the same thing. I understand, from a metaphorical perspective, how Higgins shaped Eliza and turned her into a “lady”, similar to how Pygmalion shaped Galatea. However, I find that there aren’t many other similarities. Overall, I can see how they are both Pygmalion but I don’t think there is a strong enough connection to call them the same thing.

A question that was raised for me when reading and watching was did men share similar moralities and ideas to Higgins? We do not have too many different male opinions in Pygmalion because there aren’t many significant characters in total. One example of a man having somewhat similar ideas was Colonel Pickering, he was intrigued by the idea of the bet and was fully supporting of it. However, he did not share the same morals as Higgins, we can see this when he would openly oppose Higgins insults to Eliza and made sure she was treated right. This is just one example of another man but I was wondering if other men were like this. It also made me think if the way people treated each other depended on their own class, and the class of others.

Something I liked and disliked at the same time was the dialogue between Higgins and Eliza. I didn’t like the constant the verbal abuse from Higgins to Eliza, but I also didn’t like some of Eliza’s noises and annoying proclamations. The part of it that I liked was the development of it. As Eliza became more and more educated she was able to hold her own in their conversations and a was able to withstand some of Higgins verbal jousts. I thought this was very clever, especially as a way to show Eliza’s progression to becoming a “Lady”.

Overall, I enjoyed this book/movie, it was entertaining and delivered a message about outer appearance vs inner personality similar to A Doll’s House. I make this comparison because at the time if you were born into a certain social class that would be your class and no matter what happened you would be seen as that class. However, Eliza’s transformation shows us that it is what’s on the inside that counts. Despite the fact that I don’t think it should be called Pygmalion I would recommend someone watch this, and read if they want but I think in this rare case the movie is better.

One thought on “Pygmalion Personal Response”

  1. Hey Coen! Great response! I agree with the two main points in your response. I also do not see how this play has a significant connection to the Greek methodology of Pygmalion, and I thought that Higgins would end up falling in love with Eliza the same way Pygmalion did for Galatea. Besides that, I agree that one character should not be associated with all men, and I think the play should have another character that can contrast Higgins.

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