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Subject The play as a whole
Posted by Carol
Posted on Mon Jan 11 22:35:04 1999
From IP dana.sedorm.fju.edu.tw  

Pygmalion-The Play as a Whole
Just like what our web site material says indeed there is a special structure, which is exposition, complication and discussion of the play. I think act I, II and III is the exposition while act IV, V and the sequel include both complication and discussion.
The exposition part of Pygmalion shows us a lot about the main themes-social class difference (ex: the church and the market scene in act I), money (ex: different attitude toward the flower girl's asking money in act I, special view points of money Higgins, Eliza, and Doolittle have in act II), and language vs. lady (ex: why Eliza wants to learn better accent from Higgins and the training process in act II, the first failed at-home day test and the successful party performance in act III). I feel that Bernard Shaw did a very excellent job in revealing those themes and different-styled characters by setting (ex: different rooms in first three acts), stage direction (ex: the description of Higgins' characteristics in act II), and fantastic conversations or interaction between characters.
As the successful testing party is over, the complication and discussion part has begun. The conflict is the different concern (and attitude) about the life afterward for Eliza. Through the self-awareness of Eliza, we see an even better "lady" than Higgins expects. The great change in Eliza and the out-of -control feeling of Higgins make the play more and more complex and the theme-Pygmalion and his creation more obvious. Whether a person can really (or has the right to) completely create a "creature" or recreate another person? According to this play, I think the answer is no because as you change a person, no matter what "part" you change, you are also changing a whole life, which means the consequences are unpredictable. Life is related to too many things such as emotion, inner growth, and social relationship. Higgins indeed changes Eliza in language and manners but unavoidable he also changes the inner world of Eliza. And ironically these "good" changes make Eliza feel unfit to the real world, for she has neither money nor status to support her to be a "lady," though she's already become a "lady."
In play and two filmic versions, though there are some differences in setting arrangement and plot adapt, I think they all present the verve of the original play, which is the discussion of "Pygmalion" and the problems related. Frankly speaking, I didn't feel much about the romance part of the play and I think if there really is a romance between Higgins and Eliza that'll be the crush between the creator and the creature. Of course, in order to strengthen the dramatic effect, two filmic versions have good romantic endings. However, they cut some brilliant lines and conversations of the play and it's such a pity.
Pygmalion makes me think many new concepts of human beings and the society we live. I enjoy very much during the reading process. But I hope since this is a "play" and we're discussing "drama," we should really research the stage art and act it out.


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