Subject Pygmalion, Act V
Posted by Sarah
Posted on Tue Jan 12 12:34:28 1999
From IP  

Pygmalion, Act V
  In this act Mr. Doolittle becomes rich because of one of Higgin's jokes. However, he is not happy. He has to give speeches periodically and thus he doesn't feel free anymore. What's worse, after he becomes rich, he sees the reality and ugliness of humanity. He was a dustman, which means that he is not like the middle-class people who are used to those tiring manners. Nobody wants to waste time on him. Now that he is rich, everybody becomes nice and close to him. Besides, people always expect the rich to behave well, so he has to be careful of every of his behavior. Ironically, though he doesn't like to be tied up by those manners, he didn't refuse the job because he wants to be rich; he wants to live a better life. This is natural humanity.
  Then I'd like to talk about Eliza. What exactly does she want? What makes her a lady? They are not specifically told in this play but readers can still see. I think actually she herself is not so sure about what she want. Sometimes she say all that she wants is nothing but kindness, sometimes friendship and sometimes respect; and she claimed that she wants no love from Higgins. But at the end of this act, she says, "Number eights are too small for youˇKWhat you are to do without me I can not image." From this we can see how she understands every tiny details about Higgins. We can not say she has no feeling toward Higgins at all for she gets mad at him so much; in general we get angry with somebody because we care. As for being a lady, I think at that time it means to dress fancily, talk and behave carefully and politely, and the most important thing is that the "lady" must be from a wealthy family background. In other words, she must be of better class; of higher social status. Her inner mind is not so important as her outer behavior, because people don't care about them.
  In fact, a lady should be not only courteous but also considerate and knowledgeable. I think "knowledge" is the most important thing because nobody wants to be with a woman who has only pretty looking but talks and behaves vulgarly.
  After Eliza leaves Higgins's place, both Pickering and Higgins are eager to take her back. However, I think they want her back so eagerly because they both are rich bachelors and they need something interesting and excited. Eliza is young and active, and being with her makes them feel energetic and have something to do. They don't really care how she feels and what she wants; they just want her to stay with them. I think this is rather selfish. Higgins is stubborn and emulous; he doesn't want to reveal his feeling for Eliza and always calls her in belittling way such as "creature", "impudent slut", "thing" and "squashed cabbage leaves". Actually he means nothing to hurt her, instead, he cares about her. He says, " I shall miss you ElizaˇKI have grown accustomed to your voice and appearance. I like them, rather." Instead of telling her his true feeling directly.
  I think all of the characters in this play look simple but actually are worth exploring. But in Act V Bernard Shaw didn't give us a definite answer thus we have to keep reading on the find the answer.

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