Subject The Play as a Whole
Posted by May
Posted on Sun Jan 17 17:08:59 1999
From IP  

The Play as a Whole
Consider the play as a whole, I don't think J.B. Shaw gave us a complete plot. But that's what he meant to do to be different. He dislikes romance with a specific happy or sad ending. He used the story of Eliza's transformation from a flower girl to a lady to criticize society in his time and personal struggles. The title of the play Pygmalion suggests that the main character is Mr. Higgins. And yet through the whole process of transformation he doesn't change as much as Eliza, the one who's been "recreated." Eliza, though a street flower girl she is , has got ideas of her own and can think pretty well for herself. She decides to see Mr. Higgins and asks him for English lessons so that she may have the chance to take a place in a flower shop instead of selling flowers on the street. She has good concerns about herself, and good courage, too. When Mr. Higgins talks irrespectively to her she refuses to take his words and decides to turn and leave. But why does she stay finally in the end. There's something interesting here that shows the dark side of every human being: vanity. Because she was tempted by what Higgins would afford her with: beautiful clothes, nice bedroom, and having as many taxis as she want; Therefore what's to become of her when the experiment comes to an end is out of her consideration any more. And this was left to her future struggle. What does Eliza change after the transformation? She is always aware of her own needs, but she gets to learn what a real lady is. She wants to be independent after all. And as a pupil of the egotistical professor Higgins, she got her own back and teaches him that to be a lady means more than just learning to speak like one. I'd like to share an interesting dialogue in the play.
PICKERING. ˇKˇKshe must understand thoroughly what she's doing.
HIGGINS. How can she? She's incapable of understanding anything. Besides, do any of us understand what we are doing? If we did, would we ever do it?

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