As we started reading the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Show, I honestly felt intrigued. The impression from the little introduction to this work planted an idea that this will be some cliché romance novel, as I circled back to the idea of this play originating from a Greek myth of Cyprus; a sculptor who had no interest in local women and instead carved a sculpture of his ideal girl, named her Galatea and instantly fell in love with her. He was head over heels for his creation, and quickly found himself obsessed with it, later asking Aphrodite to bring the statue to real life, as she does, being flattered by the fact that Cyprusי inspiration was indeed herself. The story ends with everyone being merry. However, this was not quite the case with this play.
The story of a simple poor girl Eliza Doolittle who turns out to be very independent from a young age, sells flowers on the street. She later meets a strange man, Mr.Higgins, a wealthy professor who does not need to bother working himself to sleep as he is so rich. Eliza starts to take speech and behaviour lessons from him in order to sound and look like an upper class woman.
The conditions Eliza is met with in the following weeks are not as great as they might seem at first, as being allowed to live in a wealthy home, eat, sleep and wear fine clothes are all very new experiences to Ms. Doolittle. Her life is difficult, having an unfortunate childhood and growing up with no mother, an alcoholic dad and living in a strict household causes her to experience anxiety at the new place; but she continues to work hard knowing that this is her chance to change her life.
To this all I can slightly relate to, as the situation that Eliza appears in reminds me of our grade transition to DP1 IB; having to adjust to a new lifestyle and working hard towards our dreams. This makes the play Pygmalion one of the examples that show that hard work always pays off.
The duo of Eliza and the housekeeper Mrs. Pearce I found very comforting as well as Eliza`s communication with Pickering. This was the girls first time taking a proper bath, and talking to a real gentleman, with the contrast of Higgins, which I found really cute.
“Sit down“ – Higgins
(Eliza stands, half rebellious, half bewildered)
“Won’t you sit down?“ – Pickering
`Don’t mind if I do“ ( she sits down) – Eliza pg.14
The closer we got to the end of the play, the more I got annoyed by Higgins. He is so used to using his status card everywhere he goes, mentioning his education and wealth as if these are his personality traits. oh, well at this point it almost seems like they are! Clearly in his world, money does solve all the problems. He also thinks that wealth determines a person’s value, therefore laughs at Eliza when she confidently confesses her love for Freddy, and that she will marry him as soon as he is able to support her.
“Rubbish! You shall marry the ambassador. You shall marry the Governor-General of India or the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or somebody who wants a deputy-queen. I’m not going to have my my masterpiece thrown away on Freddy“ pg.70 -Higgins
“…Mr. Higgins, left alone, rattles his cash in his pocket; chuckles; and disports himself in a highly self-satisfied manner“pg.72
Pygmalion is a great play which shows how important it is to stick to the opportunities around us. And while some people just need a little nudge in order to help them stand straight on the their feet, they will run, just like Eliza who ran straight to her bright future; others won’t even bother listening, just like Professor Higgins, he is an inexorable person who is hard-headed and cannot be convinced to change, no matter what. At the end of the day, this whole situation doesn’t seem to have changed his view on the world and people in the slightest.