Pygmalion

I enjoyed the play Pygmalion by George Shaw, but it was somewhat slow paced. The characters were well written and had distinct personalities which made it interesting for me to read. The questions that were brought to the surface for me when reading the play, is it right for Eliza to leave Mr. Higgins without such a notice after what he did for her, and secondly, does Mr. Higgins overstep his boundaries when she leaves him.

Eliza was in the right to leave as she was paying him as a tutor (through Mr. Pickering), and because Higgins did not own her in any way, it should not be his problem that she left. It does get more complicated when you think about things politely. It was rude for Eliza to leave Higgins without a notice or a “thank you” for how he helped her, because she was the one who came to him and asked him for language lessons. Higgins accepted this and also housed Eliza and fed her for the length of her lessons. No, I do not believe that it was right for Eliza to leave Higgins without saying goodbye or “thank you,” even if she was fuming.

Higgins oversteps his control over Eliza when he sends the police after her to retrieve  Eliza when she leaves. Eliza was only studying under Higgins, which means Higgins has no right to do something as dramatic as sending the police after Eliza. Unlike in the original written by Ovid, which Pygmalion is based off. The reason for Higgins freaking out, was because he believes that he does have ownership of Liza, because he made her into what she is. “She doesn’t belong to him. I paid him five pounds for her.” (v.7) This is Mr. Higgins speaking when he is talking to Mr. Doolittle. He says that Liza belongs to him because of the five pounds Henry gave Doolittle. The reality of this is that Eliza does not belong to Mr. Higgins, and Mr. Doolittle was only trying to make money off rich people like Higgins.

 

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